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The official journal of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

Promoting integrated resources management

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa

The Environment Issue

WasteCon 2016

Conference Round-up

Spill Response

Prevention beats crime

Cleaner Production Mining Industry 4.0

Resource Sustainability Projects

Fuelling the waste revolution

In the Hot Seat

ISSN 1680-4902 R50.00 (incl VAT) • Vol. 18, No. 4, November 2016

SA is significantly ahead of the rest of Africa when it comes to standards, procedure, enforcement and compliance in waste management.� Brent Mahoney Manager: Logistics, Sales and Landfill, Averda SA

is printed on 100% recycled paper


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CONTENTS ISSN 1680-4902, Volume 18, No. 4, November 2016 The ReSource team stands firmly behind environmental preservation. As such, ReSource is printed on 100% recycled paper and uses no dyes or varnishes. The magazine is saddle stitched to ensure that no glues are required in the binding process.

On the Cover


WasteCon Preview


Healthcare Waste




Circular Economy

It may sound unbelievable, but it’s true: it’s more economical and, ultimately, more environmentally friendly to dispose of waste from the UK in South Africa. P6

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Spill Response 3 5 52

President’s Comment Editor’s Comment Industry Events

Prevention beats crime

Laboratories & Equipment

WasteCon Review WasteCon 2016 changes the game 8




Circular Economy Establishing a circular economy

Mining ‘Industry 4.0’ for Africa


Sustainability Round-up

Hazardous & Healthcare Waste

Wasting less, making more 25


of waste

in association with



Cleaner Production

ISWA report back: Forward together 18

infrastructure news


Defending the tyre recycling industry 38

Municipal Solid Waste

New life for healthcare vinyl


Plastic properties paradox

Extending the conversation

Environmental Engineering Enhancing the life of landfills

Tshwane ensures clean air


Hot Seat Brent Mahoney, Averda SA Across borders




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President’s Comment

Putting service first

With the embers of the IWMSA’s 40th anniversary celebrations dying down, it is time to reflect on how we go about positively impacting the waste management industry within Southern Africa in the years to come.


he IWMSA regularly hosts events such as seminars, workshops and our flagship biennial conference, WasteCon, to create opportunities for our members to network, debate all issues of waste management, and also to share knowledge and information on new developments and practices within the industry. We complement these events by offering training programmes for accredited as well as institute-recognised training. These programmes are tailored to suit various requirements. Please visit our website for more details:

Continuous professional development (CPD) Up to now, this approach or methodology has been very effective. However, it is becoming more and more challenging to attract delegates to our conferences, events and training. Whether this is due to the economic slump that South Africa is experiencing or whether the delegates would rather spend their money and time on accredited training, which earns credits and for which an NQF certificate is issued, is uncertain. The fact that CPD points are earned at conferences and training only benefits those who are professionally registered. Or maybe there are simply too many conferences being hosted by the various organisations and the private sector. The IWMSA will, therefore, have to investigate whether the current format of conferences and seminars

is indeed still effective and whether they still serve the needs of the members of the institute. The institute will also have to consider whether the training that we provide, both the accredited training of NQF levels 1-4 and the institute-recognised training, is sufficient and focused on the right audiences within the waste sector. We know that the education need is enormous and the institute must ensure that it addresses that need effectively. To that end, our online training module was developed and is proving to be popular; maybe we should also consider webinars as further training methods for subject-specific topics.

Broader scope The training need is not only limited to South Africa. Our neighbouring countries are expressing the same need, and the training support that the institute can provide will be crucial in the sustainability of the chapters in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and others. In Zambia, where the Zambian Institute of Waste Management has already been founded,

similar education and training backing could be provided to support and stimulate their growth. Lastly, the institute will have to have a relook at its membership benefits. It is important that the members feel at home within the institute and that the benefits received outweigh the membership fees. In the end, it should not be about the rands and cents of the membership fees, but rather about whether or not waste management professionals can afford not to be a member and have access to these important benefits.

Change and service At WasteCon, we spoke about the changing face of waste management and the above comments simply reflect the methodology by which we will ensure that we remain relevant. But it is not about change; it is about serving our members. It is about how the institute is going to facilitate the needs of its members for the next 40 years, to ensure their growth within the waste industry. Kind regards.

President, IWMSA

Patron members of the IWMSA

ReSource November 2016 – 3


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Editor’sCover Comment strap Publisher: Elizabeth Shorten Managing editor: Alastair Currie Editor: Frances Ringwood Head of design: Beren Bauermeister Design consultant: Fréderick Danton Chief sub-editor: Tristan Snijders Sub-editor: Morgan Carter Contributors: Linda Godfrey, Magamase Mange, Jan Palm Client services & production manager: Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator: Jacqueline Modise Financial manager: Andrew Lobban Marketing manager: Mpinane Senkhane Distribution manager: Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator: Asha Pursotham Administrator: Tonya Hebenton Printers: United Litho Johannesburg Advertising sales: Tazz Porter Tel: +27 (0)11 465 5452 Cell: +27 (0)82 318 3908

Publisher: No.9, 3rd Avenue Rivonia, 2191 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 Annual subscription: R200.00 (incl VAT) South Africa ISSN 1680-4902 Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 675 3462 Email: All material herein is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views and opinions of authors expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, editor or the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa. © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

IndWMP sore spots


ollowing another wonderful, engaging and thought-provoking WasteCon conference, I am once again tremendously impressed and heartened by the passion and commitment within the local waste management industry. After attending numerous conference presentations, I was particularly interested in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ workshop in the Industry Waste Management Plans (IndWMPs).

Industry’s side It is disingenuous for government to say that it does not understand why there is so much pushback against the IndWMPs. Representatives of the packaging, lighting and electrical waste sectors are being asked to submit IndWMPS without any assurances that the time, money and intellectual property they invest in the process will be protected. Moreover, there are many stories of fraud, cronyism and corruption being told by those who regularly interact with government. Yes, there are honest, hardworking government officials too but individual members of the waste management industry have had negative experiences, leaving them with little faith in the public sector. I think this is the reason why industry so deeply distrusts the IndWMPS. They want to be assured of transparency and they want to know that their businesses won’t be dismantled and then reconfigured without any place for those who committed themselves to the IndWMP process.

Points of cooperation Most of all, industry is upset with what it perceives as government’s top-down approach. Members of the industry feel they are being told what to do rather than being consulted adequately on matters affecting their personal fates. Nonetheless, I did try an interesting thought experiment by asking members of the industry: “If you knew that no corruption would taint the IndWMP process, do you think that it would be good for the local industry and the country?” Those I asked answered resoundingly in the positive, provided funds were adequately disbursed throughout the industry and to municipalities through the envisioned Waste Bureau. There is a way forward and South Africa may yet still experience its own circular economy revolution, as has happened in many EU countries. But the ethics of those who staff the proposed Waste Bureau will have to be beyond reproach. This would further enhance the local industry by stimulating foreign direct investment, further boosting the sector and creating jobs. But if government does not live up to its promises, the Waste Bureau could kill South African recycling in the crib. This is a high-risk, high-reward scenario, with government betting on its own ability to be honest and transparent.

ReSource is endorsed by:

es Franc ood Ringw ReSource November 2016 – 5

Cover Story

Front-end bucket loader transporting material

Fuelling the waste revolution It may sound unbelievable, but it’s true: it’s more economical and, ultimately, more environmentally friendly to dispose of waste generated in the UK in South Africa. Warren Steele, managing director of UK-based environmental consultancy Resource Sustainability Projects (RSP), explains why.

A Baled and sorted waste Material recovery facility

6 – ReSource November 2016

fter working with our local partners for a couple of years, we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more affordable to export processed waste material to South Africa, including permitting, transportation and handling costs, than it is to landfill that material in the UK,” explains Steele. His company, RSP, is a UK-based environmental consultancy providing project management and consultancy for waste and alternative energy projects, including total waste management solutions and the supply of refuse derived fuel (RDF) and solid recovered fuels (SRF). There are a number of reasons backing up Steele’s claim, including the fact the landfilling is heavily penalised in Europe, as well as RSP’s ability to charge its clients a lower rate for fuel than the price of fossil

fuels. Additionally, using RDF and SRF is viable from a green credentials point of view because waste is being diverted from landfill for the purposes of energy production.

Economic benefits The rands and cents work out as follows: European waste managers are subject to a landfill tax. “At the moment, that’s £88 per tonne (about R1 500),” says Steele. “On top of the landfill tax, we have a gate fee that we pay the owner of the landfill.” Most landfills in Europe are privately owned – unlike South Africa, where most landfills are owned by municipalities. “If you factor in transportation costs, that adds up to about £110 per tonne to landfill waste. The benefit of producing alternative fuel is that transport, operational and production costs come in at something in the region of £78 per tonne – about £10 per tonne more affordable than landfill tax alone,” Steele explains. In South Africa, it’s 10 times cheaper to landfill than in most European countries, this presents a challenge to creating the same cost-saving equation for disposing of waste locally. So saying, there are more and more private companies with global parents that want to create standardised net-green solutions across the entire architectures of their

Cover Story SRF/RDF ready as an alternative fuel

Baled and wrapped SRF/RDF ready for export

businesses. This is one of the factors that has prompted RSP to look at partnering with South African waste management companies more seriously. Another factor is the fact that South African landfilling must soon become more expensive of necessity, as legislation creates an environment for higher resource recovery targets and drives separation at source. “We’ve witnessed significant growth in the sector in South Africa over the last couple of years, and our South African partners have conducted research into labour and equipment costs, cost recovery and return on investment models. The result is that we’ve judged the market to be ready for our solutions as of August this year,” explains Steele. The company has also been in discussions with one of South Africa's major cement suppliers concerning the supply of SRF for the klinker process – a much greener option than currently used in South Africa.

South Africa has very few RDF production facilities and, therefore, RSP’s stock can be used to bulk up local supplies, creating a sustainable, reliable supply of alternative fuels for companies looking to secure energy from waste.

“Two of our recovery partners in Europe are AEB in Holland and EEW – Energy from Waste – in Germany,” says Steele.


is converted to klinker at 1 450°C. This requires a high calorific value and fast combustion for the process to work. After the limestone is converted to klinker, it is then converted to cement. “In Europe, we provide SRF for companies like HeidelbergCement in Belgium,” says Steele.

RSP’s distribution network in Europe moves upwards of about 150 000 tonnes of material per year that would have otherwise been destined for landfill. This figure will only increase as the company expands into Africa. “Right now, we are engaged in a project that will increase our export by an extra 70 000 tonnes of material per year,” says Steele. Transportation of bales into South Africa is carried out over sea via 40 ft containers with a capacity of about 26 tonnes per container. “One requires a transfrontier shipment permit to transport mixed waste to South Africa; this needs to be ratified by the relevant environmental authorities, both where the ship departs and where it docks,” says Steele. “The permitting process is time-intensive and costs £14 000 per permit, so we need to make sure the economics stack up in terms of transporting the material, permitting the material and the operational costs of dealing with the material,” he adds.

Separation process


In the UK, municipal solid waste is sent directly to a transfer station. This is a comparatively new practice in South Africa where waste is usually sent straight to landfill. “From the transfer station floor, waste is then sent to an MRF. After that, it goes through an optical sorting process, which sorts the larger fraction from the smaller fraction. Thereafter, materials are separated into high-biomass streams and nonrecyclables. The non-recyclable end-of-life waste is the material that moves to our production plant for SRF and RDF, where it is sorted again into wet and dry waste,” explains Steele. RDF and SRF are then baled and loaded on to curtain-sided trucks (flat decks), and then transported across the English Channel to European markets.

In spite of the risks associated with South Africa’s relative abundance of available land for landfilling and the need to ensure buy-in from local cement manufacturers, RSP has identified South Africa’s waste management market as being ready to take the next step forward. “We’ve watched the South African market for some time and feel that, by investing now, we’ll put RSP in the forefront as South African waste management matures,” concludes Steele.

SRF for cement manufacture “On the SRF side, the product is presented as a ‘fluff’, which has a calorific value of around 20 MJ per kg, which can go up as high as 30 MJ. Material specifications are 20 mm x 20 mm with a thickness of less than 1 mm,” says Steele. SRF is, therefore, ideal for use in the klinker production process where limestone

RSP’s distribution network in Europe moves upwards of about 150 000 tonnes of material per year that otherwise would have been destined for landfill

RSP credentials RSP deals specifically with waste processing, waste transfer and the export of processed wastes as alternative fuels into Europe, North Africa and, most recently, South Africa. “Over the last three years, RSP has become one of the largest alternative fuel suppliers in the European market. We deal with clients in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and now Egypt in the African market,” says Steele. “Our team in Europe builds contracts for the supply of alternative fuels for Waste-toenergy, heat recovery and cement burning. On the cement side, they use the SRF. This might be confusing because, in South Africa, SRF is commonly known as RDF, but in Europe we call it SRF because we use this specific material for cement production as an alternative to fossil fuels. RDFs are manufactured from wetter waste streams, typically derived from household waste collections and, as a result, burn more slowly, making them more suitable for electricity production and some heat applications,” he explains.

ReSource November 2016 – 7


WasteCon 2016

changes the game

The theme of this year’s biennial WasteCon conference and exhibition was ‘The changing face of waste management’. This touched on moving away from a linear, landfill-dominated mentality to incorporate the more circular principles of reuse, recycling and resource recovery. By Frances Ringwood


his is the 23rd WasteCon event in IWMSA’s long history and it also coincides with IWMSA’s 40th anniversary. One of the pillars of the organisation is fostering communication between all members of the waste management industry. “WasteCon is an opportunity to network and spread the word about the latest trends and best practices. This is achieved through our technical programme, which, this year, features 77 papers presented over the next three days, as well as excellent workshops, indoor and outdoor exhibitions, as well as technical tours,” said Jonathan Shamrock, vice president, IWMSA, in his welcoming address. The idea for the theme of this year’s conference came from the significant shift in policy and legislation over recent years, away from landfill disposal to resource recovery, recycling and recovering energy from waste. In spite of this shift, a staggering number

8 – ReSource November 2016

of South African landfills still do not comply with local minimum requirements, regardless of the fact that the relevant legislation has been in place for the last 22 years. “However, with just a small amount of investment in human capital and training, as well as investment in the right equipment, it is possible to get things right,” said Shamrock. “We’ve had the policy and legislative shift but it’s getting to the stage where, to really move forward, we need to undergo a radical change on an individual level, we need to change our attitude towards waste and we need to make sure that this aligns with policy,” he added, ending his address by stressing the need to find a balance between cutting-edge technology and affordable solutions appropriate to the African market.

Keynote address The keynote address was delivered by Torben Kristiansen, vice president: Solid Waste

Management and Contaminated Sites at consulting group COWI, where he is leading a group of 100 Scandinavian and international experts on solid waste management practices across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He spoke about the history of waste management in Europe, touched on where the EU is heading in the future and then noted some of the challenges the South African market faces within its own journey. After discussing EU milestones, Kristiansen noted that, after a long history in waste management spanning about 400 years, “Many EU countries now aim to landfill only 2% to 8% of their waste, with the best countries already having reached the 2% benchmark. This drive for resource recovery is set to continue, closing the loop on the circular economy. In order to enable this transformation, we’ve needed to change our regulations and taxes to create an enabling environment.” Continued liberalisation of EU markets has resulted in corporate regulation becoming more complex. Additionally, sectors such as energy, agriculture and waste are cross-cutting one another and require more integration. But the future is unevenly distributed and while some EU countries have already reached the holy grail of 2% to landfill,


others have diversion rates comparable to South Africa. “I don’t know where South Africa wants to go in terms of the proportions of landfilled waste, recycled waste or incinerated waste, but I think it’s safe to say that the country still has some way to go. Industry members will always want to stick to established practices because change is hard. This creates a barrier to embracing new ways of doing things and new technologies,” pointed out  Kristiansen. He cited grants as an example of an established practice that holds development back, pointing out that a grant-orientated mentality can result in municipalities that are “penny wise and pound foolish”, where they lose a great deal of money because the fiscal system doesn’t support overall efficiency. One of the spin-offs of this mentality is that more waste is sent to landfill because landfilling appears cheaper than recycling at face value; however, when the true costs of resource wastage and environmental impacts are taken into account, this is not the case. Other local challenges addressed by Kristiansen include uneven levels of service and the fact that in some of the smaller municipalities, only 10% of residents receive municipal waste services.

OPPOSITE One of many highlights was EnviroServ Waste Management being honoured for increasing its support of IWMSA by becoming a patron member ABOVE left Jonathan Shamrock is the newly elected vice president of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, and he delivered the welcoming address saying the conference featured 77 presentations ABOVE right Points worth remarking on include the conference being accredited for continuous processional development, and the fact that many of the decorations and conference extras were made of recycled and environmentally friendly materials. For example, the conference bags made from recovered waste plastic and natural jute, as well as being sewn by South African community projects and women-owned micro-enterprises

“Landfilling in South Africa is nearly 20 times cheaper than in most of Europe and that creates a real barrier to implementing the kinds of innovative technologies required to facilitate better waste management, because such facilities are capital intensive,” he added. As a parting shot, Kristiansen dared the local industry to start thinking about the bigger picture, asking: “If Europe is becoming more self-sufficient in terms of resources because of its adoption of circular economy principles, how that will affect imports of resources from Africa?”

Past president Suzan Oelofse, past IWMSA president, started her address by picking up on one of Kristiansen’s points alluding to the fact that there is a lack of data on South African waste. The data that is available largely comes from a baseline study conducted by

the CSIR in 2011, which estimates an average of 108 million tonnes of waste are being generated per year, excluding mining waste. About 20 million tonnes of this is municipal solid waste. At that time, about 90% of solid waste was sent to landfill. “Hopefully, by now, the figure is higher, but we are not close to where we should be. But, even though we are not meeting targets, all is not lost,” said Oelofse. “We have made strides and here I would like to salute those municipalities that have managed to start implementing waste separation at source. It isn’t an easy job and informal recyclers can make the task much more challenging regarding the implementation of formal systems. Nonetheless, it is also important for us to acknowledge the role of the informal pickers because, if it weren’t for them, South Africa could not have come as far as we have with recycling,” she adds. The latest available recycling figures

ReSource November 2016 – 9

IWMSA News indicate that 52.6% of the 3.39 million tonnes of packaging consumed in South Africa in 2014 was recycled and 82% of that was collected by informal pickers. International literature also shows that if the formal sector does not take account of informal waste collectors and integrate them, then it is likely that the formal sector will star t to fail as a result of unnecessar y competition, whereas cooperation is far more beneficial. “Nonetheless, we need to star t expanding our “Landfilling in toolbox, so to speak, by looking at what other SA is nearly 20 technologies and methods might be impletimes cheaper than in mented in our future strategies, as well as most of Europe which realising the value of waste being sent to creates a barrier in landfill,” said Oelofse. “A recent study found that the estimated implementing innovative resource value of South Africa’s waste was technologies.” R25.2 billion per annum, or 0.86% of the naJonathan Shamrock, vice tional GDP. If only 10% of this waste is being recypresident, IWMSA cled, then only R8.2 billion wor th of those valuable resources is being ploughed back into the economy. We need to get more of the remaining R17 billion of value back into the economy,” she added. The global solid waste market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.75% over the 2013 to 2018 period. The global smar t-waste market, which includes advanced technologies such as plasma gasification, waste-to-energy (W2E) and optical sor ting for recycling is growing rapidly, by as much as 16%. “Africa is a continent where waste is still a major issue and there is enormous potential for investment. We, in South Africa, remain a prime destination for new technologies to be implemented. Wor th remembering is that many technologies fail in developing countries, not because they aren’t excellent in themselves but because the enabling environment is absent. Therefore, we must be careful how we make choices regarding technology options in South Africa and build an enabling environment.” In summar y, Oelofse warned against building “white elephants”, while also highlighting the tremendous potential of alternative technologies and cutting-edge waste solutions.

Future president Jan Palm, incoming IWMSA president, then took the podium, noting that since he first star ted attending WasteCon in the mid-1980s, much has changed.

top Torben Kristiansen, vice president: Solid Waste Management and Contaminated Sites at consulting group COWI spoke about the history of waste management in Europe as it compares to South Africa today middle Kelvin Legge, chief engineer, Department of Water and Sanitation, received the first President’s award at the opening ceremony in recognition of his contribution towards developing the first minimum requirements for waste management and upgrading landfill requirements for barrier systems, which are currently being incorporated in the Waste Act. Legge lost his sight as a result of being being exposed to an unknown chemical on a landfill. In spite of this, he has continued his work in waste management left Many members of the IMWMSA community praised a presentation by Bertie Lourens, managing director, WastePlan, on the economic future of employees in the waste management industry. In it, Lourens asked industry leaders to consider how South Africa’s poor survive on as little as R3 000 per month. He then made a plea for those assembled to be more conscious of their challenges, to impart valuable skills and to uplift the sector and the country

January 2016 2016 10 – ReSource November

IWMSA News “We started out hosting an extremely simple event. Then, in the early 90s, we started hosting parallel sessions so we could call for more papers, but, in those days, the papers primarily covered landfilling. Comparing that to the list of papers and topics being covered today – from W2E to alternative disposal technologies, the waste economy, the green economy, the circular economy – only about 30% of the current papers are concerned with landfilling. This demonstrates how WasteCon and the waste industry are moving in the right direction,” he said. “If you look at WasteCon today, it’s a completely diverse group. Young people are coming through, talking about various diverse topics, and that means that we as an industr y are growing, which is a highly positive outcome. Even looking at the exhibitors – in the old days, it was one or two trucks. Nowadays, many waste management companies are present, exhibiting all their ser vices and products, and it’s really great to be par t of a growing industr y,” he added. Palm also touched on the changing face of the delegates. The institute was formed by municipal officials. Today, attendees include scientists, academics, recyclers and, yes, still municipal officials. “We also need to remain critical of how we do what we do. We can’t carr y on with entrenched habits and expect growth. We need to be self-reflexive so that we can ensure we remain relevant in Southern Africa,” Palm said, concluding with an invitation for delegates to attend the conference’s highly relevant and interactive  workshops.

IndWMP workshops The Depar tment of Environmental Affairs (DEA) Industr y Waste Management Plan (IndWMP) workshop provided a platform for both industr y and government to share their points of view regarding the compilation of the packaging, lighting and e-waste IndWMPS, as stipulated in section 28 of the National Waste Management Act (No. 59 of 2008). A summar y of the issue is that industr y is concerned that if funds collected by materials produced go to the fiscus, then that money might not find its way back to existing waste management mechanisms, destroying the success already

achieved in industries like paper, which, for example, has a recycling rate in South Africa of 66%, making it competitive with Britain and America. Government’s side of the argument is that it wants to ensure a more diverse industr y that creates the necessar y oppor tunities for entrepreneurs, so as to facilitate job creation and transformation. Both sides agree that the industry should strive towards a circular economy and that safer conditions have to be achieved for waste pickers as part of a broader effort to incorporate them into the formal sector. Mark Gordon, deputy director general: Chemical and Solid Waste Management, DEA, summed up the workshops, saying, “I want to address the elephant in the room, which is self-interest. Industr y wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Society at large wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me – especially for the unemployed?’ Government also wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ These plans are economy- and industr ywide plans, meaning that they are meant to be allinclusive. So, when we talk about the roles of different organs of state, role players and stakeholders, these plans have to take that into account, because they are national  plans. They need to take into account the role of municipalities, the application of the Municipal Finance Management Act (No. 56 of 2003) and the Public Finance Management Act (No. 1 of 1999), issues concerning transformation and issues concerning tender procedures.” In brief, there will be a great deal of implications for the IndWMPs. Plans have been submitted since 2011, when the DEA began working with industr y. It’s only now that Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa will formally and officially call for those plans, and that call will be sent out soon, once the S28 comments have been finalised.

Conclusion This year’s conference, held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, once again ser ved as an impor tant platform for the industr y to share ideas and grow. It challenged IWMSA members to move out of their comfor t zones and embrace change and the imperative to uplift all players within the industr y.

2% to 8%

of waste to go to landfill. This is the aim of many EU countries, with the best countries already having reached the 2% benchmark.


of the 3.39 million tonnes of packaging consumed in South Africa in 2014 was recycled and 82% of that was collected by informal pickers.

R25.2 billionn

The estimated resource value of South Africa’s waste per annum. Only 10% (R8.2 billion) is currently being ploughed back into the economy.


The predicted compound annual growth of the global solid waste market over the period of 2013 to 2018.

Hot Seat

Across borders Brent Mahoney* of Averda SA recently returned from an incredible, yearlong adventure – spanning three continents – where he gained a global perspective on localised landfilling.

While Averda was establishing itself as a leading waste management brand in South Africa, you participated in a year-long work exchange programme. What were some of the countries you visited and what was the purpose of the exchange? BM I spent time working in Beirut in Lebanon, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Casablanca and Rabat in Morocco, Angola, London and Oman. My travels exposed me to real, in-country business dynamics, and is probably the best practical MBA-type experience I could have ever asked for. This research exercise was intended to give me exposure to the Averda global footprint, operations, systems and culture. It was important for me to see the type of technical competencies Averda operates with, their service offerings, and to witness how they mobilise and operate in countries with different economic markets, conditions and challenges. All of these countries are different, and a

12 – ReSource November 2016

different formula is required to operate in each market. As the Logistics, Sales and Landfill manager for South Africa, I was particularly interested in how Averda mobilises its resources across the world, particularly in the immensely challenging environments of emerging markets.

How did the other African countries’ waste management and landfilling practices compare to South Africa’s? South Africa is significantly ahead of the rest of Africa when it comes to standards, procedure, enforcement and compliance in waste management, but there is clearly a desire to improve standards and develop better infrastructure. Worth noting is that Angola has constructed one of the biggest landfill sites in the Africa. Nonetheless, South Africa is ahead in terms of operating, design, permitting and compliance of hazardous landfills and medical waste treatment. One of the biggest challenges presented in

Africa is the lack of hazardous waste landfill sites, treatment facilities and incinerators. The other African countries are either exporting hazardous waste, or mixing hazardous waste streams with general waste on general waste sites. The key driving factor and differentiator in South Africa is the regulation governing the waste industry and most importantly the enforcement and management of the promulgated law. South Africa complies with European standards and, in my view, is a leader in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, our compliance and enforcement of segregating waste, delisting, analysing and sorting at the source are significantly advanced when compared to the rest of Africa, and in line with global best practices.

You also visited a number of sites in the Middle East. How do waste management challenges differ between South Africa and some of those countries and why? In the Middle East, there are limited weather elements

Vlakfontein is an example of the Averda standard, aligned to global best practice and local laws

to contest against in terms of rain, mud and wind. The region’s desert environment, extreme heat and world-class infrastructure enable more effective collection systems and very little leachate. Averda’s tried and tested system of vehicles, fleet telematics, collection, weighing, billing systems and software is highly advanced and sophisticated. The company’s collection, sales and administration systems are all automated and it’s encouraging to know that Averda SA has access to advanced and proven technology. This was definitely a highlight of the trip in terms of learning and skills exchange. Further, Averda has worldclass landfill sites all managed, engineered and designed in terms of excellence and continually strives to lead in delivery to ensure the brand remains a market leader in emerging markets. For example, the Beirut landfill site has 18

Hot Seat gas wells permanently converting methane gas into energy for use by the local residents. One thing I did notice is that the Middle East is yet to enforce an incentive for recycling, and landfilling is still a very affordable and cost-effective option. Laws and penalties are being devised to encourage and incentivise sorting at source and reducing waste to landfill. This is an example of how law and industry change, ultimately driving service providers to reengineer a more comprehensive integrated service offering to the market. In the Middle East, the landfill sites are world-class, and managed and designed by some of the leading waste management companies and engineers in the world. Also, Middle Eastern landfill sites have no waste pickers. The climate conditions of extreme heat make it challenging to operate in the Middle East, as temperatures reach up to 50°C. Enforced law disallows drivers or vehicles to work on the roads and landfill sites during the midday heat, forcing staff to work at night. Similarly to all over the world, businesses in the Middle East are also seeking to find the best solution for the best price. However, the challenge is that alternatives and innovation don’t always work at the cheapest price.

You mentioned Averda’s Beirut landfill as being particularly advanced. Can you describe the volumes and some of the innovations at the site? In Beirut, Averda collects about 7 000 tonnes to 8 000 tonnes of waste a day, using 550 trucks. The two respective material recovery Averda employees with media representatives during a visit to the Vlakfontein landfill site

facilities process 3 000 tonnes a day of municipal solid waste and recover 1 000 tonnes of recyclables a day. About 20 000 tonnes per month of wet waste is converted into compost and sold to farmers. All low-density plastics are diverted to a pelletising facility and suitable wood briquetted into boiler fuel. The Averda Engineering Division has an optical and state-of-the-art laser refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant piloting and sampling RDF fuel and to ensure accurate, calorific consistency, production inputs and outputs for market execution. Once again, the above highlights the pride and accuracy in Averda’s technical competency and engineering excellence. The abovementioned benchmarks are only some of the milestones and handling capacity highlights of the overall Averda Group. In Beirut, the Averda team collects in a day what Averda (Gauteng Division) collects in a month.

“My travels exposed me to real, in-country business dynamics, which is probably the best practical MBA-type experience I could have ever asked for.”

What do Averda’s intercontinental network and experience bring to the table for waste management in Africa? Averda’s global network and proven technology offer 50 to 60 years of experience in the industry and, by the same token, Averda SA has access to an expansive, proven technical capability and competency. The company’s local iteration is given access to engineering expertise in Beirut for design and engineering excellence. The London Business Development and Technical Office has mechanical and aeronautical engineers available to the Averda Group for all technical aspects to analyse design, financial feasibility and longevity, and commercial due diligence before any projects and technical procurement are approved by the global board and shareholders. Since tried and tested systems are crucial when you’re working in emerging markets, Averda brings reliable technological engineering competencies, which have been adapted to its business over the years. Moreover, the company has dedicated engineering experts working on solutions to provide and ensure a high technical standard. One of the company’s

core values, as stressed by CEO Malek Sukkar, is that Averda employs the best people, and partners with leading universities in the world to headhunt and ensure mapped-out career paths for its people. Averda also works closely with local communities to employ, train and educate its workforce to have a lasting legacy and help, in some small way, to address local youth employment challenges.

You mentioned that Averda’s presence in South Africa will raise the standard of local waste management. How is this being achieved? Averda is the first waste management company that has dedicated engineering and design departments, and it upholds high standards, delivery, longevity and credibility wherever it operates. Vlakfontein is an example of the Averda standard, aligned to global best practice and local laws. *Brent Mahoney is the manager: Logistics, Sales and Landfill at Averda SA.

Environmental Engineering

Enhancing the life of landfills Landfill space is often difficult to source near towns and cities, and building new landfills is expensive. The founder of environmental engineering company Envitech Solutions, Stan Jewaskiewitz, talks about different approaches to enhancing and extending the useful life of landfills. By Frances Ringwood


ocating and developing new landfill sites is becoming increasingly tricky as a result of “NIMBY” (communities who say, “Not in my back yard,” as soon as talk concerning the construction of waste disposal facilities arises). Community protestation or not, cities need landfill airspace because there is no way to effectively manage municipal and industrial waste without it. Many visionaries are calling for a new status quo of “zero waste to landfill” but, realistically, it is going to take an extremely long time before this dream becomes a reality. In the meantime, landfills remain the primary destination for solid waste. Bisasar Road Landfill

Therefore, there is a pressing need to extend and enhance the useful life of existing landfills. This approach gets the most out of existing sites by designing them for longer life cycles, managing gas and leachate effectively, and diverting as much waste from landfills as possible through site facilities.

Environmental engineering

Envitech is a 13-year-old company formed to focus specifically on environmental engineering. It concentrates on waste management, mine waste management and mining pollution control. Jewaskiewitz himself has been involved in the waste management industry for 31 years and has experience with both municipal solid waste and hazardous waste. He is a qualified civil engineer, specialising in geotechnical engineering. He explains that there are two main emissions from landfills: leachate, which causes groundwater pollution if it’s not controlled, and landfill gases, which can create air quality and site safety issues. When landfill

gases are trapped in pockets within a landfill, they can become explosive. “This buildup has caused loss of life on projects where contractors had not undertaken their due diligence, resulting in deadly landfill gas explosions,” says Jewaskiewitz.

Urban site challenge With the development of big cities, rapid urbanisation and the encroachment of informal development on the city, landfills now have to be built much farther out from the areas where waste is collected. A resulting problem is increased hauling distances, which drives up transportation costs. “An example of the urban site challenge occurred within the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, and the way it was handled is an example of why I believe they are the best municipality in the country regarding their forward-looking approach to waste management,” says Jewaskiewitz. He continues, “Many years ago, eThekwini recognised the need for a new regional landfill site. The more-or-less centrally located Bisasar Road site, on the banks of the Umgeni River, had been earmarked for closure years ago. The site closed recently.” Envitech is known for its expertise in gas extraction, so the municipality consulted with the firm to see what could be done to get the most out of Bisasar, while also looking to site a new landfill. “One of the advantages of extracting gas from landfills is that it precipitates

Environmental Engineering “An advantage of extracting gas from landfills is that it precipitates settlement, regaining some of the airspace that would otherwise be taken up by waste.”

Then and now

settlement, regaining some of the airspace that would otherwise be taken up by waste. This space can add up to quite a significant volume. eThekwini had embarked on extracting gas as far back as 1996 and the municipality saw the immediate return, in that it was freeing up additional airspace. “Nevertheless, that could not last forever, so eThekwini embarked on finding land for a new regional site. Many years later, the site was developed and is today’s Buffelsdraai Landfill,” he adds. eThekwini now faces a situation where all the waste being deposited at the Bisasar site (with volumes between 2500 and 3500 tonnes per day) has to be sent to Buffelsdraai. This will then pass through a transfer station because it is not cost-effective for standard collection vehicles to travel the extra distance of 36 km to the new site. “This indicates the problems municipalities face when they develop new landfills – they have to be sited further and further out. A whole host of costs are associated with this, which ultimately come out of the municipal budget,” says Jewaskiewitz.

About 30 years ago, the average expected life of a municipal landfill was between one and two decades. Today, landfills are more likely to be built for a 30- to 50-year lifespan because this kind of longterm design philosophy turns out to be much more affordable. “If a municipality has to build a new landfill every 10 or 15 years, the cost is exorbitant because of the initial capital cost – but municipalities do not operate on the same principles as a private businesses. If the private sector constructed a landfill, they would want a short return period (e.g. up to four years). On that model, they’d be investing capex back into the project because the trend is to develop landfills in a modular fashion. In other Buffelsdraai Landfill

ReSource November 2016 – 15

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above left Roundhill before rehabilitation above During construction and rehab left The rehabilitated cell

words, we construct cells, so that as one cell fills, we build another. On average, the cells take about two years to fill,” explains Jewaskiewitz. Holfontein, for example, has a 30-year lifespan. The new Vlakfontein site near Vereeniging – also dealing with hazardous waste – is 30-year system too. “Today, private landfills usually have a minimum life cycle of 30 years, and when it comes to municipalities, landfill lifespans can extend to up to 85 years,” he adds.

Designing for the future Pietermaritzburg’s New England Road Landfill is an example of a successful project where environmental concerns played a key role in the site’s design, with a later retrofit extending the landfill’s useful life. The landfill was built on an old meander (a river that used to meander but filled up with sand and silt), without a low-permeability clay layer beneath it. “Because of the sand-filled river course under the site, any uncontrolled leachate emanating from the landfill would immediately infiltrate the nearby sur face water, ultimately polluting the Umgeni River,” explains Jewaskiewitz. “In response, we designed a subsoil drainage system that prevented leachate seepage; we then built berms around the landfill and capped it with a specially designed capping system. What was novel about our capping design was that it became the base for a whole new landfill,” he adds. Vlakfontein Landfill

The New England site is about 30 ha in size. Due to the capping innovation, that same amount of space was then recovered for the construction of a whole new landfill. “My approach has always been to determine how to get the most from an existing site because of the difficulty involved in sourcing new sites. A landfill engineer always needs to ask how they can transform this site into something that’s going to benefit the existing community and be sustainable into the future,” says Jewaskiewitz.

Design and divert The New England Road Landfill site is now a successful example of what’s known around the world as a “piggyback landfill”. It is the first of its kind built on a municipal scale in South Africa and functions as a lasting example of how approaching the problem of landfill design for an extended lifespan can significantly reduce capex costs, increasing profitability. Also important is diverting recyclable waste from landfills to free up more airspace. This can be done through the installation of a number of facilities, from materials recycling facilities and wastewater treatment plants for treating leachate, to chippers for reducing garden waste. Jewaskiewitz notes that some of those site facilities that are effective for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill are crushers and composting areas. “Crushers reduce construction and demolition rubble, and composting facilities lower the amount of organic, readily reusable waste that goes into the landfill. These are two waste streams that usually occupy the highest fraction of municipal sites, while also contributing to the volatile character of leachate and gases,” he concludes.

Optimised biogas


arik Höppener, managing director, re-energise Africa, the local agent for Siloxa Engineering – a leading German technology manufacturer and supplier for biogas treatment systems explains that the most popular way to produce electricity using biogas is through gas engines. “Usually, manufacturers of these engines demand an H2S concentration below 200 parts per million (ppm) as a technical warranty requirement. The threshold for exhaust gas catalysts is even lower – typically defined below 10 ppm. These thresholds cannot be kept without the removal of H2S,” he adds.

H2S reduction

One way to prevent H2S from forming is to introduce specific iron products into the biogas plant feed system. “But these additives can be costly and limit the removal of the last ppm

of H2S as the use of additives increase exponentially,” warns Höppener. Most biogas plants remove the bulk of H2S through a biological desulfurisation system, in which air is injected into the digester’s gas system. Here, oxygen and H2S react to elemental sulfur and water. Biological desulfurisation is affordable, simple and can reduce the H2S concentration from above 1 000 ppm to between 100 ppm and 500 ppm. “An added bonus is that elemental sulfur remains in the digestate and enhances its value for use as fertiliser,” adds Höppener. However, the most efficient gas engine operations use additional external filtration –biofilters or activated carbon filters are two of the options available on the market. “Biofilters have relatively high capital requirements but have low operational costs, although they represent an entire sub-system in the biogas plant,” explains Höppener. “This subsystem needs to be managed and maintained carefully, if the operation is to

Environmental Engineering work reliably without causing unwanted disruptions,” he adds. Activated carbon filters are more commonly used due to numerous benefits such as low upfront costs and no technical maintenance requirements. “These filters need dedicated integration into the entire desulfurisation process and design dimensioning to find the optimal filter size with regard to operational needs of filter exchange frequency resulting in H2S reduction to below 1 ppm,” explains Höppener.

Value of H2S removal

Gas treatment systems in biogas plants represent best practice internationally and investment in these systems offset costs through reduction of operation and maintenance costs of gas engines. “By removing H2S gas, engine operators prevent acidification of engine oil, increase oil change intervals by up to five times, increase gas engine lifespan, eliminate legal warranty conflicts with engine manufacturers, and allow cleaner combustion with reduced exhaust gas pollution,” concludes Höppener. ReSource November 2016 – 17

Solid Waste

Forward, together

The following lessons learned from the international waste community at the ISWA World Congress 2016 provide a framework for uniting ideas for successful waste management solutions. By Linda Godfrey & Magamase Mange


he International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) held its annual congress from 19 to 21 September 2016, in Novi Sad, Serbia. With more than 1 300 delegates from over 70 different countries, the 2016 congress proved to be the largest to date. Prof Linda Godfrey, of the CSIR’s Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit, and Magamase Mange, of the Department of Science and Technology’s Directorate: Environmental Ser vices and Technologies, represented South Africa at the conference. Some highlights of the three-day scientific conference are detailed below.

It’s about people not waste A ver y clear message that was emphasised by ISWA, across all seven parallel technical sessions, and in the closing session, was that the issues facing the waste sector in the 21st centur y are largely “people issues”, rather than “waste issues”. From sustainable waste management in regional development, to the integration of the informal sector, policies and legal

18 – ReSource November 2016

frameworks, and the circular economy as an oppor tunity to improve waste management, the human element – both as a problem and solution – was apparent. The opening session of the congress focused on five key questions facing the sector: • What is the future of the industr y within the four th industrial revolution? • How do climate change agreements and funding boost innovation in waste management and recycling? • Why does a circular economy make communication a central element of each and ever y waste management activity? • How can we practically inter vene to deliver improvements in both developed and developing countries? • What is the role of science in waste management and recycling, and what should we expect from scientific advances? The presentation by Prof Agamuthu Pariatamby on the contribution of science in waste management and recycling was particularly relevant, as the Department of Science and Technology moves forward in implementing the 10-year Waste Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap for South Africa.

The presentation highlighted impor tant aspects towards realising maximum value from science, emphasising that the relationship between academia-industr y-public needs critical re-evaluation. In addition, research funding and problem-tailored research should be interlinked not parallel.

Developing countries The conference dedicated one parallel session across all three days to discussing waste management in developing countries. A lack of informed decisionmaking and the capacity or skills to implement policies, waste logistics and infrastructure, and financial feasibility were noted as common challenges among developing countries. Key to improving good governance and waste management, in general, is sharing best practices and lessons learnt, including those concerning the impor tance of stakeholder par ticipation in the design and implementation of waste legislation, strategic planning, reconfiguration of the institutional model of governance, education and specialised technical training in the public and private sectors, as well as environmental education and awareness to instil new cultures and change behaviour. Similar to the South African context, understanding the value and market demand of waste-derived

Solid Waste

products is a paradigm shift towards waste as a resource, for most developing countries. The themes from this session were well aligned to some of the clusters of the Waste RDI Roadmap for South Africa, including strategic planning, waste logistics per formance, and waste and society.

Programme can be found online at www. timothybouldr

Informal sector round-table

The emphasis on people was fur ther evident in that, for the first time at an ISWA World Congress, a two-day session focused on the integration of the informal sector into the waste economy was held ISWA Scholarship Programme – dubbed the European Informal Sector The theme, ‘It’s about people not waste’, Round Table. While the informal sector was highlighted in the work of Timothy has traditionally been an issue facing Bouldr y, a New York photographer living developing countries, current sociopolitical challenges across Europe are seeing and working in Nicaragua, Central America, increasing numbers of people resor ting to who par tnered with ISWA in 2015 to establish the ISWA Scholarship Programme, the informal collection of recyclables as a aimed at “bringing more children from the means of generating a livelihood. dumpsite to the school desk”, and with Besides formal presentations by specialists from Europe, South America and South the intention of breaking the cycle of pover ty and moving children off of dumpsites Africa, the round-table hosted a number of by providing them with access to educainformal waste collectors from France, tion. The ISWA Scholarship Programme Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The #tradingtrashforeducation currently supround-table was an engagement between por ts 40 children who were sor ting waste the waste community, informal collectors, on the Nueva Vida and La Chureca dumpgovernment and academia, in suppor t sites in Nicaragua. The money provided of the informal waste collector’s plea: by ISWA, some of which “Nothing for us, While the informal sector without us.” is through private donations, helps to fund The CSIR’s Prof has traditionally been an books, uniforms, transissue facing developing Linda Godfrey was por tation, family allowinvited to deliver countries, current ances, administration two presentations sociopolitical challenges during this roundand psychological counselling. More information across Europe are seeing table. The first on the Scholarship presentation, on increasing numbers the ‘Integration of

of people resorting to informal collection as a means of generating a livelihood


large dumpsites

ISWA launched its report, ‘A roadmap for closing waste

dumpsites: The world’s most polluted places’, during the opening session of the 2016 congress. The roadmap is in response to the ‘2014 Waste Atlas’, which identified the 50 biggest dumpsites globally, and which was launched by ISWA during its World Congress 2014 in São Paulo, Brazil. South Africa was identified in that report as being home to three of the world’s 50 biggest dumpsites, which include Arlington Landfill (Port Elizabeth), Luipaardsvlei (Johannesburg), and New England Road (Pietermaritzburg). The full roadmap report can be downloaded from the ISWA website ( article/press-release-iswas-roadmapreport/109). The opening paragraph to this report is startling: “From December 2015 to June 2016, in only seven months, ISWA has recorded more than 750 deaths related to poor waste management in dumpsites and several incidents with important health impacts. There is no doubt about it: dumpsites are a global health and environmental emergency.” This report is intended to provide guidance to governments, including local authorities, on the processes and procedures required to close a dumpsite and develop a sound, alternative waste management system. The report highlights that all the elements for closing a dumpsite (technical, financial, governance and social) are proven and available.

ReSource November 2016 – 19

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Solid Waste Peter Börkey, principal administrator: Environment Directorate, OECD

informal recyclers within packaging systems in South Africa’, was the output of collaboration earlier in 2016 between the CSIR, ABI, GreenCape, the IWMSA and the Depar tment of Environmental Affairs. The second presentation, on ‘Cooperatives in South Africa: Not a panacea’, was the output of a GreenFund research project conducted by the CSIR, on cooperatives as a developmental vehicle to suppor t job creation and SMME development in the waste sector. The round-table highlighted that South Africa shares many common issues when it comes to waste management, recycling and the integration of the informal sector,

with Eastern European countries such as Serbia and Turkey, providing an opportunity to learn from and share best practice in these countries.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) The OECD has been working on an update to its 2001 ‘EPR: Guidance Manual for Governments’ since 2014, when it held the Global Forum on Environment: Promoting Sustainable Materials Management through Extended Producer Responsibility conference, in Tokyo, Japan from 17 to 19 June 2014. Peter Börkey, principal administrator: Environment Directorate, OECD, announced the launch of the new ‘Extended Producer Responsibility: Updated Guidance for Efficient Waste Management’ during the

ISWA 2016 World Congress session on EPR. The updated guideline includes new chapters on, among others, the role of government in EPR, competition and EPR, design for environment, and EPR and the informal sector. The guidelines are available for purchase from the OECD Online Bookshop.

Mining the anthroposphere Following the congress, Mining the European Anthroposphere – a European

South Africa shares many common issues when it comes to waste management, recycling and the integration of the informal sector, with Eastern European countries such as Serbia and Turkey ReSource November 2016 – 21

Specialist Waste Management Consultants


Tel: +27 21 982 6570


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Solid Waste

Round-table on waste pickers from around the world

Cooperation in Science and Technology action – hosted a two-day workshop, on ‘Technologies for material recover y from landfills and mining residues’, at the Faculty of Technical Sciences of the University of Novi Sad. The workshop focused on issues around mining old landfill sites and included presentations by leading European exper ts on: • e valuating and classifying resources from old landfills

• life-cycle assessment on mining old landfills • enhanced landfill mining for resources or fuel • dismantling and removal of old dumpsites • technology for manufacturing high-grade products from excavated landfill plastic • s ustainable, innovative separation techniques • technological and environmental indicators for the rinsing of materials recovered from landfill.

The workshop highlighted that in most landfill mining projects conducted to date in Europe, par ticularly at older landfill sites, the plastic, paper and textiles recovered from landfill are not suitable for recycling, due to contamination and degradation, and these projects are dependent upon having access to high-temperature waste-to-energy facilities for final disposal. Recycling plastic recovered from landfill has been possible from younger landfills (between 6 to 10 years old). Preliminar y data from landfills in Texas, USA, suggests that recycling may be a viable option for resources recovered from landfill mining. According to Godfrey, who also attended this workshop, this topic could provide the basis for a number of research projects in South Africa, in order to assess the technical and economic viability of landfill mining in the countr y.

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Comprehensive and

Hazardous & Healthcare Waste

compliant service

Buhle Waste is a 100% black-owned and -managed company focusing on integrated waste management services throughout Southern Africa. Managing director Dr David Sekete (left) explains what’s made Buhle an industry leader.


he original vision for Buhle Waste, when it was established almost 20 years ago, was to become a leading waste management company in Africa through the provision of excellent and efficient service,” explains Sekete. Today, Buhle Waste is achieving its goals through the legally compliant collection, treatment, disposal and transportation of waste across all different waste streams. “We manage all waste streams, including general, commercial and industrial waste. A particular strength and capability we pride ourselves on is our healthcare and hazardous waste management services,” says Sekete. With its focus on the Southern African region, Buhle has become synonymous with quality, reliability, flexibility and affordability. “Our advanced competencies in managing healthcare risk waste and biohazardous waste make us the service provider of choice when it comes to on- and off-site training to assist our clients in protecting their employees and managing risk,” adds Sekete.

Producer responsibility As waste management legislation has evolved to become more focused on producer responsibility and enforcement, Buhle has kept pace with these changes, assuring clients’ total peace of mind when it comes to safe, compliant and responsibly managed waste. “We employ cutting-edge technologies to manage our clients’ liabilities, maintaining responsibility for waste through our unique, market-leading scanning and tracking technology hosted by Technetium. By scanning and tracking waste containers at critical points throughout the management process, we can back our claims of handling waste in a legally compliant manner with digitised proof – truly maintaining the cradle-to-grave responsibility,” says Sekete. Aside from concentrating on the material concerns of legislations, Buhle Waste also emphasises maintaining good, long-term relationships with its clients and the communities and environments within which they operate.

“By establishing long-term relationships with our clients in government, corporations and the private sector, we are able to maintain extended accountability, assisting clients to develop valuable institutional knowledge,” he adds.

Healthcare training There is a perception out there that medical waste removal service providers are unavoidably expensive if they are to provide quality services. Buhle bucks this trend by providing an affordable service that doesn’t compromise on either quality or customer service. “Not only do we provide the best service at the right price but, by paying special attention to our customers’ needs, we are able to provide services that are outstanding for their reliability, ensuring that each customer receives the attention they deserve. Our service is not just about waste collection; we have added benefits tailored for our clients that few other waste management companies can match, such as our Health and Welfare SETA-accredited and HPCSArecognised healthcare risk waste training programme, which we developed in partnership with Geozone for healthcare professionals and staff,” says Sekete.

Environmental responsibility “We follow the waste hierarchy principles of reducing, reusing and recycling, wherever possible, throughout our value chains. These principles are applied across all waste streams. Part of our commitment to the environment includes our investment in revolutionary waste treatment technology, known as The Converter,

What sets

Buhle apart? • Putting people first • Excellent healthcare and hazardous risk waste management • Environmentally friendly waste treatment technology • Scanning and tracking waste products • Comprehensive and accredited on- and off-site training for clients’ staff • Issuing of Waste Disposal Certificates

which will have us reducing waste to landfill by up to 70% as well as deriving possible wasteto-energy benefits from the treatment process,” he explains.

Responsible employment Beyond assisting customers to manage waste in an ethical and environmentally responsible manner, Buhle Waste also puts its own people first by being compliant with all the relevant health and safety laws and regulations governing waste management workers, in addition to regularly upskilling its staff in the latest waste management procedures. “Buhle Waste fully complies with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993). We also comply with the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998) throughout our structures of employment and adhere to the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act (No. 11 of 2002). We further adhere to the determinations outlined by the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry. We ensure our employees are treated well so as to reflect our commitment to people, and their health and safety,” concludes Sekete.

ReSource November 2016 – 23

environmentally responsible


The A-Thermal chemical division is able to treat the following hazardous waste through thermal destruction: laboratory waste chemicals pesticides expired pure organo-chloride and organosulphide waste permanent destruction of persistent organic Pollutants (POPs) cyanide waste decontamination of containers used in the chemical and pesticides industry sludges and wastewater/liquids contaminated with organo-chlorides heavymetal contaminated waste such as mercury waste

safe thermal treatment

of hazardous and toxic waste

Pharmaceutical Division

The A-Thermal pharmaceutical division specialises in permanent, secure destruction of pharmaceuticals. Waste treated includes: finished pharmaceutical products (expired and discontinued) intermediate products raw materials quality assurance retention samples natural, homeopathic or complimentary medicine clinical trials laboratories in pharmaceutical industries medical devices cosmetic industries schedule 5 – 6 drugs (overseen by full-time on-site pharmacist)


28 Keramiek Street | Clayville | Olifantsfontein | 1665 t +27 (11)316 1800 | f +27 11 316 4999 | e 24 – ReSource August 2016

Hazardous & Healthcare Waste

New life for healthcare vinyl For the past couple of years, ReSource has tracked the Southern African Vinyls Association’s (SAVA) crusade to recycle a higher fraction of non-hazardous hospital plastic. Delanie Bezuidenhout, CEO, SAVA, reports back. How far has the project grown since SAVA first initiated it two years ago? DB This project has been a dream of mine since I was a patient at a private healthcare facility in 2009 and I noticed the amount of recyclable non-hazardous healthcare waste being disposed of in the healthcare risk waste stream. Did you know that more than 40% of all plastic-based, disposable medical devices used in hospitals are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC)? I started doing research into the concept of practising green health and delivered a research paper at a well-known waste management conference in 2010. I must admit that the conference delegates were less than eager to take up the concept at the time. Since then, a lot of research and case studies have been done both locally and internationally that support the concept and prove that it is indeed possible. The PVCMed Alliance was created in 2012, of which SAVA is a member, and its purpose is, among other things, to promote

the recycling of non-hazardous PVC healthcare waste worldwide. Members of this alliance are currently rolling out projects in Australia, Europe, North America and South Africa.  In the past year, SAVA has been able to secure the necessary funding for our local project by partnering with Adcock Ingram Critical Care and we have been able to put all our research, case studies and passion into practice. In terms of the suppor t we are now receiving from the medical fraternity, it is clear that hospitals and clinics are rethinking the way in which they deal with healthcare waste, not only due to the rising costs of waste management, but also due to an increase in awareness about their responsibility towards doing business sustainably.

How many hospital staff and healthcare workers have you trained these past few months in the recycling of nonhazardous medical waste? We have, to date, provided about 120 hours of training to about

2 000 staff members at five different healthcare facilities.

Which hospitals are participating? The hospitals that are actively participating in the pilot project are Cape Gate MediClinic, Unitas Netcare Hospital, Pretoria East Netcare Hospital and Milpark Netcare Hospital. We hope to add another three hospitals to this list before the end of this year. Our aim is to expand this pilot project to include at least 20 hospitals from various hospital groups. The data collected throughout the pilot project will then be used to create a “how to” guide for other hospitals wanting to implement similar projects at their facilities.

What are some of the biggest challenges hospitals and healthcare facilities face

Plastics for recycling

when it comes to recycling their waste? Our biggest obstacles have been concerns about infection control, the risk of contamination if separation is not done properly, and staff members who are resistant to change. Storage space could also be a problem if yet another bin for another type of waste stream is added to hospitals’

ReSource ReSource November August 2016 – 25

Hazardous & Healthcare Waste existing bin sets, and achieving economies of scale is also harder when it comes to the logistics of collecting and removing the products. Due to the fact that we are dealing with healthcare waste, there will always be unique challenges. One way of addressing some of those challenges is to remember the phrase: “When in doubt, leave it out.” Other ways to mitigate changeover challenges include proper ongoing education of hospital staff on correct separating procedures – something which is done already – and to have a specific champion of the idea at healthcare facilities.

What are the key factors for the initiative’s success? The first factor is a high level of segregation with the lowest possible contamination rate. Segregation works well in areas where there is a predictable work flow. Second, passionate champions and education are required at each of the pilot healthcare facilities. Third, economic viability needs to be established. Once the pilot reaches maturity, the ongoing programme should either be a cost-neutral or cost-saving event for the healthcare facility. Finally, geographical location is key. Healthcare facilities considered for the project should be within a reasonable distance from PVC recyclers.

starting to see a change in the way that healthcare risk waste is managed. Hospital administrators and staff alike have been thinking about increasing separation and

“Our aim is to expand this pilot project to include at least 20 hospitals from various hospital groups.” diversion to reduce both costs and the impact on the environment. There are also a lot of case studies and pilot projects from overseas demonstrating proof of concept.  It’s a fact that hazardous healthcare risk waste is extremely costly to dispose of. On the other hand, implementing a countrywide initiative to divert reusable PVC materials from hospitals would also cost money. Both forms of waste management are subject to additional handling fees, which also drive up costs. By looking at international case studies, however, it’s possible to extrapolate that the move towards greater PVC recycling can be cost neutral or save costs for hospitals. There are numerous other advantages for hospitals wanting to pursue this course of action. These include contributing towards the overall environmental compliance for the

facility, enhancing community relationships and avoiding longterm liability. Additionally, staff morale increases when they know they are perceived to be doing the right thing.

Do you have any interesting stats to illustrate the importance of recycling healthcare waste and SAVA’s successes so far? Within just the first few days of starting the project at two of the healthcare facilities, we collected well over 150 kg of recyclable PVC waste that would otherwise have been incinerated or disposed of in a hazardous landfill site. PVC is a versatile polymer that can be used for anything from a rigid application such as piping, to soft applications such as IV bags, tubing and oxygen masks in hospitals. Even inflatable splints, blister packs for medicines, and flooring are PVC products and a vast quantity of PVC products

Delanie Bezuidenhout on a site visit at Constantiaberg MediClinic

can be diverted from landfill or recycled into a wide variety of new materials, such as shoe soles, pipes, hoses, doormats, gumboots and traffic cones. Over 50 million IV bags are consumed annually in Australia alone. Together with face masks and tubing, at least 2 500 tonnes of locally recyclable material is available for collection and reprocessing, saving valuable resources. A 300-bed hospital could easily recycle around 2.5 tonnes of these quality PVC products each year. Since perfecting the programme in Australia, it has grown; by mid-2016, it served 60 hospitals in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and New Zealand. Due to the fact that the South African PVC market is quite similar to that of Australia, we can expect similar results with our various projects locally.

Is there growing awareness about the importance of an effective recycling initiative for hospitals? The rising costs of healthcare waste management in South Africa and the rest of the world are forcing hospitals and clinics to rethink the way in which they deal with their healthcare waste. I am

Creating room for storing nonhazardous recyclables has been one of the biggest challenges to date

ReSource ReSource November August 2016 – 27

Spill Response

Prevention is better than crime

contamination and illegal dumping of hazardous waste) can take a long time to clean – up to eight months. That expanded clean-up timeline results in much more costly processes, which could have been avoided if the correct procedures had been followed in the first place, or if a more timely intervention had been instituted. “The reputational damage caused when a company is named and shamed for polluting the environment can be quite severe,” comments Willie Hills, a sales executive for local spill response company Drizit. Drizit Environmental was established in about five or six kilometres. Augering and 1975 as an oil absorbent manufacturer. Due drilling techniques can be used by environmental management inspectors (commonly to the overwhelming market demand throughout Southern Africa, Drizit quickly expanded called the Green Scorpions) to identify and services to include a spill clean-up service to then prosecute environmental transgressors. the manufacturing and transport industries. There are numerous water testing laboratories located around the country where hydroAs the pioneer of spill clean-up service procarbon-to-water ratios can be established to viders in South Africa, Drizit Environmental has gained extensive and valuable long-term experience in containing, handling and cleaning up environmental pollution incidents of various magnitudes. “Fortunately for us, the reverse is also true. When you work towards rehabilitating the environment, it contributes towards brand and reputation building. For example, we recently cleaned a chemical spill in a The consequences river located in Modimolle, of being charged with Limpopo. The clean-up polluting an environment operation would have cost sufficiently to harm human the transporter responsible for health are severe the incident thousands of rands to clean up. However, it was found that the transporter was from outside South Africa determine if levels are over the maximum and the environment was in danger. So Drizit legal requirements. was appointed by the DEA to assist with the clean-up free of charge. This extreme operaConsequences tion was part of our responsibility towards The consequences of being charged with a greener environment. We’ve realised several business opportunities arising out of polluting an environment sufficiently to harm the positive press we received following the human health include fines, licensing issues, project,” he explains. the loss of a mine’s social licence to operate, and being held liable for neighbours’ Drizit Environmental has qualified and experienced teams available 24 hours a day to financial losses. For example, if a Klerksdorp respond to hazardous material such as fuel farmer’s cattle start to die, and the culprit is spillages and chemical disaster incidents, no found to be a mine whose hydrocarbons are matter if it is on soil, in the water, or even the contaminating a shared water resource further upstream, that mine has opened itself ocean, Drizit Environmental is one of the few up to costly legal liabilities. companies accredited to do marine pollution. Moreover, historical contamination The company also specialises in the safe (i.e. contamination resulting from old soil removal of asbestos.

Some of the most costly mine spill response and chemical clean-up operations occur many years after the contamination event. In these cases, environmental rehabilitation legal fees can run into the hundreds of millions of rands. Being prepared drastically reduces these costs. By Frances Ringwood


here are many different kinds of contaminants on mines sites, no matter what the commodity. Some of the most common pollutants range from hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to a variety of chemicals and acids used in laboratory work. Fuel oil leaks from machine repairs and diesel leaks from refilling area spillages are some of the more regular culprits. The best way to prevent environmental degradation from this type of spill event (among others) is to be prepared.

Prevention better than cure Preventative measures that a site safety manager might engage in include having spill kits handy, refuelling over a bund and repairing vehicles over a hard surface. Measures like these prevent soil contamination and also stop hydrocarbons from poisoning groundwater. Soil rehabilitation can be quite difficult and costly to engage in, whereas cleaning concrete slabs is far easier. In these cases, fuel oils can be diverted into a sump where they are separated from oil using an oil-water separator. The most immediate reason why hydrocarbons present such a huge environmental risk is their high contamination rate. It’s well known that just one litre of oil can contaminate up to 1 000 litres of water, and when oil leaks into soil, it contaminates the groundwater beneath it. As South Africa becomes increasingly water scarce and the use of boreholes becomes more prevalent, groundwater protection is an issue gaining more attention from government, the engineering community and civil society. Moreover, South African case studies show that where major leaks occur, people exhibit related illnesses in a radius of up to

28 – ReSource November 2016

Spill Response

Protective equipment selection For Hills, preparation is key. He strongly recommends having spill response kits easily located on refuelling bowsers to prevent some of the most common types of site contamination events. An essential element of such a kit is personal protective equipment (PPE). Knowing something about the composition of the material used in these suits is part of a holistic approach to spill response, risk management and the promotion of site safety. Loren Pearson, sales and marketing manager: Chemical Industrial Clothing, Sub-Saharan Africa, DuPont, explains more about specialist chemical protective clothing and their selection criteria for spill response, hazardous waste and waste management. “When you hear about specialist trademarked materials like Teflon, Lycra and nylon, all of these materials were developed by DuPont. While the company is most commonly known for its Chemical Division, it also has many other divisions, including an Industrial Protection Division, named DuPont Protection Solutions, producing specialist protective clothing solutions scientifically developed and designed to offer high levels of protection in critical environments,” she explains. For low-hazard chemical applications, the Tyvek range offers disposable coveralls for particulate and limited splash protection against low-concentration inorganic chemicals. “Our Tyvek and Tychem coveralls and accessories are designed to offer superior protection, comfort and durability. DuPont can provide permeation data for all of the garments in the range based on the types and concentrations of chemicals that they may be exposed to. It is important to understand the risk of the application and then choose suitable PPE and garments based on this information.

Permeation is not the same as penetration – while other garments available on the market will allow the liquids to penetrate straight through the fabric, providing a minimal barrier, Tyvek and Tychem garments will offer high protection against chemicals that they come into contact with. Our Tyvek and Tychem garments are not subject to penetration, but due to the fact that all chemicals breakthrough the molecular structure of any fabric, it is therefore important for us to be able to provide the end user with adequate permeation data based on the risk,” Pearson adds. Where there are environments where the chemicals may be under pressure, or the contamination risk is highly concentrated organic chemicals or pollutants, DuPont has a range of suits with multiple layers and over-taped seams, typically used in industrial cleaning, mining, petrochemical installations and sewer maintenance. A newly launched product specifically relevant for spill response and mine waste management is the Tychem Thermopro suit, which offers both FR and chemical protection against high concentration chemicals – it has flame-resistant Nomex fabric on the inside, and offers a superior Tychem chemical barrier on the outside. “This garment is ideal for clean-up operations at hazardous sites – for example, when an oil tanker overturns or at a major spill. This is because it protects workers from hazardous chemicals and the possibility of flash fire, which will provide them with valuable seconds they might need to escape if the site becomes a fire hazard,” Pearson explains.

Mine safety focus Perhaps the most compelling reason for mines to be better prepared for the

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eventuality of hazardous spills is the financial concern. According to Darryll Kilian, partner and environmental consultant, SRK Consulting, “Since the early 2000s, over 80 financial institutions have adopted the Equator Principles, which are aligned to the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability.” He adds that this encourages companies to take a risk management approach to environmental and social issues over the life-of-mine, moving away from a complianceonly mentality aimed simply at the award of a positive record of decision and other environmental licences. In other words, mines can no longer afford to take a check-box approach to managing site health and safety, and stakeholder relations. Being optimally prepared for hazardous waste and chemical spills is an important way for mines to set themselves apart from their competitors, to manage risk and to show commitment to sustainability and their surrounding communities.

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Municipal Waste City of Tshwane officials receiving the Greenest Municipality prize


ll stations in the network are currently operational. Thus far, six out of eight stations in the network are reporting credible data to the South African Air Quality Information System (Saaqis). Saaqis provides a common platform for managing air quality information in South Africa by making data available to stakeholders and providing a mechanism to ensure uniform management of air quality data. In addition, the Environmental Management Ser vices Depar tment conducts programmes at schools and communities to show the public what causes poor air quality. For example, the Basa njengo Magogo programme being run at communities and schools demonstrates a fire making method that does not produce as much smoke as making fire using a brazier.

As an institutional arrangement, the City Sustainability Unit communicated the city’s commitment to addressing climate change and stimulating the green economy through policy development research, raising awareness and running demonstration projects. Other projects visited for this purpose include: • Kwaggasrand Material Recover y site, Maunde Street, Atteridgeville • Tshwane Food and Energy Centre, Bronkhorstspruit • a biogas plant in Bronkhorstspruit. The Waste Management Division showcased its current infrastructure improvements at Tshwane’s landfill sites, as well as the extensive waste awareness initiatives undertaken to promote compliance with the new Waste Act. Projects visited under this banner were the Atteridgeville BuyBack Centre and the Soshanguve and Hatherley landfill sites. Work is in progress to promote waste separation at source in Tshwane, as well as the use of buy-back centres to limit waste quantities destined for landfilling. Other projects visited during the competition evaluations included: • solar water heaters in Hammanskraal for energy efficiency • Rietvlei water treatment works • Bethlehem Park and Maunde Park in Region 3, Atteridgeville, to showcase the city’s deliver y of the two-parks-per-ward programme • Bachana Mokoena Primar y, Unit 9, Ga-Rankuwa • Soshanguve Agricultural Park to showcase the city’s support to ensure sustainable agricultural practices. The City of Tshwane’s submission, together with greening policy documents, was submitted to the Greenest Municipality panel.

Ensuring clean air

Green municipality Recently, the city was awarded the second runner-up position in the Greenest Municipality competition and won prize money to the value of R2.5 million. The results were announced on 6 July this year at a prize-giving ceremony held in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. The winner was the eThekwini Municipality and the first runner-up was Ekurhuleni. The City of Tshwane qualified to participate in the competition by winning the first prize for Bontle ke Botho, Gauteng’s Clean and Green Campaign, in the 2012/13 financial year.

in Tshwane The City of Tshwane maintains seven, permanent air monitoring stations and one mobile station. Information obtained from these air monitoring stations is used to determine the impact of air pollution on the environment, as well as communities. As part of its preparation for the competition, Tshwane’s Environmental Management Services Department established a Tshwane Greenest Municipality interdepartmental task team, with key representatives from city divisions involved in the competition’s adjudication process. These included the Waste Management Division, Energy and Electricity Division, Water and Sanitation Division, Environmental Management and Parks Division, Sports, Recreation Arts and Culture Department, as well as the City Sustainability Unit. The City of Tshwane’s Green Municipality evaluations took place from 8 to 12 February this year. Projects selected by the city showcased its best environmental practices.

ReSource November 2016 – 31

Testing & Laboratories

Plastic properties paradox One of the best ways to grow demand for recycled plastic is to test plastics to ensure their components are identified for ideal future use. But not even 1 in 10 recyclers is able to perform these tests. POLYCO CEO Mandy Naudé explains how her company is investing in better testing to support market growth.

Why is it important for recyclers to invest in testing equipment and laboratories? MN In order to grow the demand for recycled tonnages effectively, recyclate needs to compete with virgin where materials can be used in specific applications. Because of this, only materials with known properties can be used in applications with known properties. It has, therefore, become imperative for local recyclers to invest in quality testing equipment (QTE), in order for them to enter into new, value-added consumer goods markets. At present, the commodity markets are saturated with recycled polymer – and when the economy dips, the volumes drop considerably.

How many recyclers in South Africa are testing the quality of their recyclate? Less than 10% of the recyclers operating in South Africa test

32 – ReSource November 2016

their recyclate. POLYCO, the Polyolefin Recycling Company, has assisted four recyclers to implement QTE in the past year. However, we do know of other recyclers who test their own recyclate by means of in-house process testing, through film blowing and other such methods.

Organisation had been in discussion with CPT for special prices for routine tests, but a fairly large customer base is required and not enough recyclers are ready to commit to regular testing – yet.

Where are these recyclers situated? Two of the

Key testing equipment includes: • melt flow index testers • tensometers • density testers • impact testers (for film blowing applications, one needs a small film blowing test rig).

recyclers are based in Cape Town, and two are in Gauteng.

Are there any external or independent testing facilities that can be used by recyclers? Two laboratories operate in the plastics industry, i.e. the Centre for Polymer Technology (CPT) in Pretoria and Roediger Agencies in Stellenbosch. Due to the skills and equipment needs, the cost of their overheads make routine testing unfeasible. The South African Plastics Recycling

What is some of the must-have testing equipment that every recycler should invest in?

How much money has POLYCO invested over the past year into laboratory and testing equipment? We have invested about R750 000 into QTE over the past year. This financial assistance was in the form of interest-free loans for recyclers to invest in and implement QTE specifically.

Are there any challenges that need to be overcome? The biggest challenge we face in South Africa is changing the mindset of recyclers to make them realise the importance of testing their material and investing time and money in QTE. Until recently, recyclers were not interested in moving into producing higher-value, quality products unless there was a clear incentive, i.e. achieving better selling prices. Variability in product quality has traditionally always been used by converters as a reason to keep prices low. In the same vein, unless brand owners specified products with recycled content, the packaging converters did not see the benefit or the need of having to incur the R&D costs needed to make this happen. Further, now that the oil price is very low, virgin polymer prices dropped at the same time as the decline in the economy. Sales in

Testing & Laboratories non-critical products shrunk and there is not currently a large demand for recycled materials.

Could you provide an example of a local recycler that has invested in their own laboratory or testing equipment with POLYCO’s assistance? One prime example of a local plastics recycler who has embraced what investing in new QTE could mean for his business is Cape Townbased Myplas. With the assistance of POLYCO, Myplas implemented a full laboratory on its premises. Being able to consistently produce quality recycled polymer enabled them to access new, critical end-use markets, such as the automotive industry, and export markets, as Plastics A5 Advert_paths.pdf


the company was now in a position to issue qualitysensitive converters with a specification sheet. Myplas customers are now able to rely on the relevant properties that are required to meet their demands. This has become a differentiating factor when selecting a supplier of recycled polymer. As a result, customers are more confident in the product supplied to them by Myplas and are prepared to pay a premium for a more consistent product. The laboratory equipment also enabled Myplas to start the process of ISO accreditation, which will give customers even more peace of mind when using the company’s products. Another example is Extrupet, the first large-scale



Less than 10% of the recyclers operating in South Africa test their recyclate polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycler that manufacture recycled PET (rPET) for food contact, which invested in testing equipment right from the start. The company established brand and recyclate specifications and marketed them accordingly. As a result, rPET is

being seen as an alternative raw material. For other materials, recyclate was mainly used in its own unique markets where final costing was based on the price of available materials. In these cases, demand exceeded supply, so users of these materials started blending materials from various sources to obtain a blend that was suitable for a given application. As a result, selling prices remain low and recyclate quality suspect.

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Extending the conversation


New legislation supports extended producer responsibility – a concept that the waste management industry backs 100%. However, there are some industry concerns about government’s proposed plan to levy waste management charges in the form of taxation. By Frances Ringwood


outh Africa generates millions of tonnes of waste each year, with landfills creating millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, and a great deal of a worse pollutant – methane. Estimates are that this “throwaway” approach is costing the local economy billions of rands, as well as blocking the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in the recycling and remanufacturing sectors. To turn the situation around, lower landfill use rates, reduce pollution, and create wealth as well as jobs, the South African government has been gazetting a number

of new laws aimed at creating greater value in the waste management supply chain. However, certain waste management players who work in both the materials supply and recycling ends of the value chain are expressing reservations over waste management charges being a matter of taxation rather than being levied on a voluntary basis. Working at both ends of the materials supply cycle gives these players a unique view on how the proposed tax could affect the

manufacturing as well as the recycling industries. Charles Muller, executive director, Packaging SA, explains his organisation’s position further.

Shared commitments Before explaining his organisation’s stance on the new the National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management (NPSWM) – under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008) (NEMWA) – Muller says it’s important to first understand the paper and packaging sector’s overall position.

ReSource November 2016 – 35

Recycling “Packaging SA and its members unequivocally support the ideals of cleaning up the environment, maximising waste diversion from landfill, creating employment and developing a secondary resources economy,” he explains. “In terms of job creation, we want to see the removal of people from landfills and the creation of better working conditions in the sector. Another important point of advocacy for us is that we want to see industry provided with an increased and steady stream of recyclables. This would necessitate and contribute towards the development of new markets for recycled materials. Packaging SA would also like to see the reduction of resource consumption by promoting the use of recyclables (supporting a circular economy),” he adds. He further emphasises Packaging SA’s commitment to continuing with transformation in the packaging and waste industry.

Extended producer responsibility

process be transparent. Since the local recycling industry has relatively narrow profit margins and creates jobs primarily among low-skilled workers, it also needs to be cost-effective and simple. “Also important is that no ‘free-riders’ are allowed, and government’s support in enforcing this stance is imperative,” comments Muller. If one exception is made with regard to fee levies, then the system will not be stable enough to become entrenched and make the necessary impact to catalyse the highly desirable secondary-resources renaissance hoped for in South Africa. This is why enforcement is so crucial. Another crucial factor in making EPR affordable is the mandatory separation at source of paper and packaging in households. “We cannot meaningfully get our recycling rates up without this,” says Muller. He adds that, in order to reduce littering and encourage responsible litter disposal, education and awareness programmes need to be implemented for consumers and at schools.

Packaging is an integral part of protecting, preserving and containing food – there will likely be a backlash if there is any unnecessary interference in its supply

With regard to the above goals, the packaging industry and government are more or less on the same page. However, the new NPSWM has raised some questions about exactly how the South African government plans to levy fees to encourage a secondary resources market. Across the different recyclate stream oversight bodies (not just Packaging SA), there is a sense that a partnership-type approach, based on collaboration and conversation, is needed. “We at Packaging SA believe that there must be a trusting relationship between government and the waste management sector, based on collaborative partnership. It is accepted that government must be part of the solution but it cannot be the whole solution,” says Muller. Some of the points for collaboration include:

36 – ReSource November 2016

1. Mutually setting and agreeing upon collection and recycling targets 2. All producers (both obliged and obligated industry) of paper and packaging must belong to a recognised extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme 3. EPR scheme costs need to be collected from obligated industries and importers – this includes those responsible for bringing in packaged items such as electronic goods, automotive components, food, medicines and whisky. Muller further emphasises the importance of extending cost responsibilities through to product manufacturers, not just stopping

Taxation question at those who supply the packaging itself. “Since it is the brand owner or ‘filler’ who ultimately decides on the nature and type of packaging to be used for their products, they (as is the case in most parts of the world) need to be an integral part of the EPR scheme. It is unfair to hold the local converting industry responsible for dealing with all the packaging waste resulting from the importation of both packaging and ready-packaged finished products.”

Transparency Of the utmost importance to all industry players is that the implementation of the NEMWA and its results, including the Waste Management Bureau (WMB), is that the

“With regard to the pricing strategy, industry has significant concerns that, with increased government intervention, regulation and the proposed imposition of a SARScollected ‘waste management charge’ or levy, major issues will arise,” says Muller. These include industry abdicating responsibility for existing successful initiatives, business costs overwhelming the conversion industry so that job losses result, and reducing the competitiveness of locally manufactured products. Regarding the levy’s effect on existing initiatives, Muller explains, “It is highly unlikely that anyone will pay a mandatory tax or levy as well as continue to voluntarily support the many initiatives that they currently fund.”

Recycling He adds, “With some exceptions, the local converting industry is not in good economic shape – additional costs will not assist and this may unfortunately see increased automation and job losses. There are also several examples of packaging companies having closed their doors this year, resulting in massive job losses. Unfortunately, there are more to come.” Muller also points out that imports of packaging and, in particular, packaged finished goods will, in all likelihood, also increase and levies will further place the local manufacturing industry at a structural, competitive disadvantage to foreign companies. “The introduction of the proposed carbon tax will further exacerbate this problem,” he says.

Further concerns To date, there has been no mention made, by the Department of Environmental Affairs or elsewhere, that the revenue collected by Treasury via SARS will be ring-fenced.

Consequently, there are concerns that other governmental spending priorities such as education, healthcare and infrastructure may result in funding not becoming timeously available to run existing recycling initiatives. “An extremely pressing issue for us at Packaging SA is the concern that timing delays in funding, or even a lack of funding through the WMB may result in the collapse of the existing material or producer responsibility organisations. These are currently responsible for thousands of jobs,” says Muller. These concerns are not unfounded. Many will recall the Buyisa-e-Bag debacle, where plastic bag taxes destined for environmental activities were never realised. This continues to be a sore point for industry.

Recycling regression Muller further warns that, if government collects levies or taxes, there will be a regression in recycling rates as has occurred in

Hungary and elsewhere. “Our paper and packaging collection rate is currently in excess of 57% (and increasing) and compares very favourably with what occurs elsewhere in the world. It should be noted that the paper and packaging industry is responsible for less than 2% of all solid waste that goes to landfill. Organic waste and building rubble, for instance, are a much bigger problem (in tonnage terms),” he says.

Conclusion Packaging is an integral part of protecting, preserving and containing food – there will likely be a backlash if there is any unnecessary interference in its supply. Since cost increases within the value chain will inevitably be passed on to consumers, and since a large part of packaging is used in basic foodstuffs, those earning lower incomes will likely suffer most. Further taxation is likely to hurt not only the packaging industry but consumers at large.

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Defending the tyre recycling industry REDISA predicts that if funding for tyre recycling goes to the fiscus, it will result in job losses and the closure of SMMEs vital for community upliftment

Debate rages over whether the tyre levy of R2.30/kg should go to REDISA, as it has so far, or the fiscus. Stacey Davidson, director, REDISA, explains to ReSource how reversing the original funding model could hurt a burgeoning industry. How did the original REDISA funding model come about? SD The REDISA Plan was a result of collaboration between government and the private sector. REDISA was gazetted by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) at the end of 2012 and operations began in mid 2013. The DEA drove legislation enabling the establishment of an extended producer responsibility programme operating

38 – ReSource November 2016

independently of industry but with 100% compliance from producers in the industry. The plan was established to take responsibility on behalf of product manufacturers for the recovery, recycling and processing of waste tyres in South Africa – with a focus on the reduce and reuse principles. In this regard, the minister retains control of the plan and the conditions of approval. She has oversight over the

implementation of the plan and the power to require information and explanations and, if necessary, to amend the plan and the conditions of approval.

What are some of the problems you foresee should the new funding model be adopted? In the past, we have seen that government almost invariably fails to maintain ring-fencing of funds once they go into the fiscus. The plastic bag

levy is an example of how this failure destroys a wellintentioned policy: since 2004, we have paid a levy on plastic bags to encourage reuse and recycling while mitigating the environmental impacts of plastic bag pollution. This has been an outright failure. A study by the CSIR reported that in the February 2006 financial year, only 7% of the levies collected actually got paid to the implementation arm,


Buyisa-e-Bag, so it is perhaps not surprising that the organisation shut down with little to show for its efforts. What has made the REDISA Plan successful, over the past three years of its operation, is its current funding model – in which the fees are paid directly to REDISA and spent in an auditable and accountable fashion. In terms of transparency accountability, REDISA currently reports on a monthly basis to the DEA, submitting audited financial statements to both the department and to the minister on an annual basis, as well as an annual report published on the REDISA website.

Would you please summarise some of REDISA’s other arguments against the new funding model? When producers pay waste management fees, the responsibility for remediating the negative environmental impacts associated with their products shifts to the institution collecting those fees. Extended producer responsibility organisations (EPROs) are institutions specifically set up to implement remediation strategies for waste, and therefore contain the ideal institutional framework to administer, collect and process waste management fees. Because of this relationship between EPROs and producers of products that become waste, EPROs act similarly to insurance agencies that reduce the overall risks of each waste stream on society. This has several implications, including: • It suggests that implementing taxes for waste would be the incorrect approach to waste management because the state would then become

liable for remediation efforts, which it is not suited to do. • It suggests that EPROs should be set up for each waste stream in order to roll out a large-scale approach to waste management and remediation that can be well coordinated and administered efficiently. It suggests that EPROs should be regulated in similar ways to insurance companies. Around the world, insurance companies have regulations pertaining to the following: • licensing and regulating insurance companies themselves •m  onitoring and preserving the financial solvency of insurance  companies • regulating and standardising insurance policies and products • controlling market conduct and preventing unfair trade practices. Moreover, it is important to stabilise the waste management approach in South Africa as fast as possible, in order to gain the maximum benefits from EPROs. REDISA is ideally placed to help make this happen.

What are some of the industrywide drawbacks that could result from that money going into the fiscus rather than being handled by an EPRO? Creating, developing and supporting a recycling industry require a stable investment environment and the ability to make long-term plans. As we have seen with the plastic bag levy, and long before that with the road fund levy that was added to fuel and supposedly earmarked for roadbuilding, once funds go into the fiscus, their allocation is uncertain.

Indeed, no one can give any guarantees because all appropriations and budgeting have to be approved by Parliament, and no one can prejudge what decisions Parliament must make each year. We believe that by moving to tax-based collection, business certainty is removed and many projects and programmes will cease. Then, not only are we

“Tyres manufactured using better environmental standards will be subject to a lower fee."

looking at a large number of direct job losses but also the potential closing down of many SMMEs, something that we can ill afford in the current economic environment. Looking at concrete figures, the management of 247 826 tonnes of waste tyres since REDISA’s inception has allowed for more than 200 SMMEs to be established. These SMMEs support over 3 000 jobs. Not only would those within the REDISA structure be negatively impacted, but existing industry players such as the retreading industry would be hit even harder from a financial perspective, resulting in job losses and the associated socio-economic impact felt in communities.

Although REDISA has done a lot of good, locally and internationally, for tyre recycling and the circular economy, the organisation has faced a lot of controversy over the speed at which tyres are processed. Would you please recap the highlights of REDISA’s achievements in this context? The REDISA Plan is a five-year roll-out plan and, thus far, we have been successful in increasing the capacity to process. REDISA has been successful at taking the waste tyre diversion rate from 4% to 63% in just under three short years and aims to reach the target of 100% by the end of 2017. It is easy to underestimate the scale and scope of building a nationwide reverse logistics operation with all the supporting structures such as depots, but international observers familiar with the general field are unfailingly impressed by the speed of the roll-out. Key achievements include: • REDISA gained international recognition by winning the 2014 Oracle Sustainability Innovation Award for its management system, and ser ved on the advisor y board of the Ellen MacAr thur Foundation/SUN/McKinsey repor t to the EU Circular Economy Conference in June 2015. • At the 2015 Global Economic Symposium (GES) hosted in October, the REDISA Plan was presented to an international panel and was adopted by the GES as an official solutions proposal to

ReSource November 2016 – 39

Recycling address critical challenges being faced internationally. • In January 2016, REDISA was announced as runner-up in the Circular Economy Government, Cities & Regions category of the Circular Awards. The awards were presented at a ceremony at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. • In 2013, REDISA signed an MoU with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). As a result, REDISA funds students undertaking research projects related to tyre recycling, which both contributes to knowledge in this area and trains up people who can work in the industry. REDISA is also using NMMU’s expertise to support the creation of the Product Testing Institute (PTI), which will carry out tyre testing according to South African homologation standards and international standards, and will be developing a new set of standards that will define an environmental rating for tyres. The construction of the PTI is expected to be completed by May 2017 and full operation, as a tyre homologation facility, is to commence by the beginning of 2018. REDISA is facilitating the establishment of the PTI, whose main objective is to test tyres and environmentally rate and certify each type of tyre.

Currently, the waste management fee paid to REDISA is standardised at R2.30/kg. Once an environmental rating system has been developed and linked to tyre homologation standards, REDISA will be in a position to set a new pricing structure. This will allow those tyres manufactured using better environmental standards to have a lower fee, while those tyres that are manufactured with more adverse effects on the environment will have a higher fee. Broadly, the PTI establishment process will be construction, accreditation for South African homologation, accreditation for EU/US homologation and the development of an environmental rating system. Other achievements include: •3  72 985 tonnes of carbon emissions potentially offset •2  47 827 tonnes of waste tyres collected as at August 2016 •3  427 jobs created •o  ver 200 independently owned SMMEs developed •2  068 people trained within three years •d  epots developed in all nine provinces.

“It is easy to underestimate the scale and scope of building a nationwide reverse logistics operation assistance with all the supporting made posstructures such as sible by the depots.” REDISA Plan.

What gains could REDISA and the South African waste management industry lose if the new plan goes ahead? The

REDISA Plan has proved to be a solution that provides government with a solution at no cost to the fiscus. Furthermore, the Institute of Race Relations and McKinsey have both released reports that prove REDISA drives GDP, employment growth and environmental remediation. It is our opinion that if the fees currently collected by REDISA move into the fiscus, it will bring an end to the significant headway we have made within three shor t years. Some 200 SMMEs rely on the mentorship, suppor t and

Seventy waste picker cooperatives are working within the REDISA microcollector programme and rely on the additional income provided. Nineteen university students are benefitting through REDISA bursaries and 3 000 jobs rely on the network created. The approach undertaken by REDISA is one that was put in place to stimulate economic and socio-economic growth, and it’s working. To remove the one aspect that makes it so successful and replace it with an approach that has been proved to fail, would be shortsighted and to the detriment of all involved.

Mills & Otten cc Johannesburg Tel: (011) 486 0062 Fax: (086) 554 6573 Contact: Charles Mills / Kirstin Otten • • •

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Circular Recycling Economy

Estab lishing a circular economy


hile ideas about reuse, repair, remanufacture and upgrading technology to promote sustainability have been around since the 1960s, the idea has only really gained traction in South Africa in the last half-decade. Originally imagined by Kenneth Boulding, in his 1966 essay ‘The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth’, where he compared the linear, wasteful “cowboy” economy to a “spaceship” economy, the circular economy envisages earth as being like a spaceship, with finite resources that need to be carefully managed. Globally, the idea of a circular economy only really took off in 2010. In that year, Dame Ellen MacArthur set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the mission to “accelerate the transition to a circular economy”. MacArthur’s commitment to the concept was inspired by her recordbreaking sailing excursion, single-handedly circumnavigating the globe in just 71 days. It was during this experience that MacArthur had her revelation of the importance of managing her yacht’s meagre rations and fuel resources effectively, in order for her to survive. Her experience of managing the

Most leading figures in the local waste management sector advocate shifting to a circular economy, but South Africa will need to focus on creating the right legislative environment to facilitate an industry shift at this scale. By Frances Ringwood

yacht’s resources is comparable to Boulding’s ‘Spaceship Earth’. At the core of the concept are more thoughtful, streamlined, high-end industrial manufacturing processes. As MacArthur herself explains in a McKinsey interview, “Our global economy is powered on resources that are ultimately finite. The best way to illustrate a circular economy is to look

at our current linear economy. Our economy today is predominantly driven by taking raw material out of the ground, making something out of it, and ultimately that material is thrown away. Whereas, for a circular economy, from the outset, the economy is designed so as to be regenerative. So with motorcar manufacturing, for example, cars are designed to be remanufactured and disassembled; they are designed for “decomponentisation”. The materials that sit within the global economy that currently flow off the end of the conveyor belt can, therefore, be put back into [the cycle]. This involves everything from different financing for those products and materials to different business models – [for instance:] do people pay per use for these materials? If contributing towards the circular economy is a business’s set goal, then every step takes them one step closer towards that goal.” From MacArthur’s description, it’s clear that the concept of a circular economy is industrially driven, revolving around an ideal, imagined production process that envisions products designed for ultimate reuse. This might entail using more of a specific raw material rather than less, so

ReSource November 2016 – 41

Circular Recycling Economy

that it is eventually undertaken by the Ellen MacArthur Founrecoverable. It may dation, SUN and mean incorporating more high-end McKinsey & Co, in production proa study, entitled A fully circular economy cesses – in such ‘Growth Within: a would ensure products’ cases, initial capicircular economy end-of-life isn’t tal outlay can be vision for a competiin a landfill tive Europe’. The orconsiderably higher, ganisations concerned but per-use costs will found that “by adopting be much lower. An additional benefit of such a circular economy principles, system is that a machine – e.g. a Europe can take advantage of the washing machine – would be owned by the impending technology revolution to create manufacturer and hired for short periods, a net benefit of €1.8 trillion by 2030, or rather than being owned by the consumer. €0.9 trillion more than in the current linear This would translate to lower hire rates due development path.” to enhanced efficiency. It would also mean It also found that GDP growth would that the manufacturer could continually upresult from lower production costs and grade the machine for higher efficiencies, greater productivity achieved through new or even reuse components in the manufacand advancing technologies. This would ture of a new machine. produce a ripple effect, reaching every When a product is continually reused, business and, ultimately, creating greater as in the example above, this can be deper capita wealth and higher levels of disposable income. “On a circular economy scribed as a cradle-to-cradle product life development path, European GDP could cycle, as opposed to a cradle-to-grave one. increase as much as 11% by 2030 and The latter implies linearity and a product’s 27% by 2050, compared with 4% and 15% life cycle ending in a landfill. in the current development scenario,” the Business case study finds. A further Ellen MacArthur Landfill disposal space is expensive. It Foundation, SUN, and McKinsey & Co meta-study found that “existing studies point costs an average of R1 billion to build a to the positive employment effects occurlandfill in South Africa. Landfill space is ring in the case that the circular economy also scarce. According to Prof Suzan Oelofse, principal scientist specialising in is implemented”. waste governance at the CSIR, “Southern Not only are new jobs created in reverse Africa’s landfill airspace is dwindling. There logistics and remanufacturing, but GDP are various implementable processes availgrowth drives further opportunities that able to help divert precious resources and could result in new entrepreneurial opmaterials from ending up at these sites. A circular economy is key in achieving this and is all about creating a restorative and regenerative system – especially when it comes to the manufacturing industry.” Moreover, a circular economy portunities, creating new markets and can save billions of rands through urban broad-scale job creation across a variety of mining and raw materials recovery, manage industries. business risk associated with resource depletion, create thousands of jobs, and drive The study further found, “The benefits of GDP growth. a more innovative economy include higher Research into the cost-saving, economic rates of technological development; improved materials, labour and energy efgrowth, business sustainability and job creficiency; and more profit opportunities ation dimensions of implementing the circular economy in Europe has already been for companies.”

Circular Economy

South African scenario A World Bank report shows that South Africa produces 54 425 tonnes of trash every day – making it the 15th highest waste producing country in the world. Further, the most recent study conducted on actual volumes of trash produced and recycled in South Africa indicates that 108 million tonnes are produced per year, only 10% of which is recycled. Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has stated publicly that her department’s estimates for the financial gains being missed out on through wastage are equal to R7 billion. That’s without even considering the wider impacts of an improved economy. The circular economy’s job creation potential in South Africa has been estimated in the thousands, or even the tens of thousands if the formalisation of waste pickers is factored into these calculations. There is no data available for what the knock-on effects for job creation might be as a result of economic growth but, if South Africa parallels the European model, this too could be significant.

Overcoming scarcity Sarah O’ Carroll, manager: Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP), GreenCape, believes that the implementation of a circular economy is key to South Africa overcoming its current resource challenges. “The rising cost of energy and other inputs is threatening the continued viability of businesses, the development of the economy and associated job creation. Improving resource efficiency can be key to overcoming this challenge to business and the economy. “Furthermore, internationally and locally, it is recognised that the mitigation of climate change will require the industrial sector to be more resource efficient and reduce the carbon intensity of production processes,” she adds. The WISP is one of a number of Green Economy initiatives through which the Western Cape government aims to address the aforementioned challenges by improving resource efficiency through industrial symbiosis. Other initiatives being run throughout the rest of the country include the Gauteng Industrial Symbiosis Programme (managed

A circular economy can save billions of rands through urban mining and raw materials recovery, manage business risk associated with resource depletion, create thousands of jobs and drive GDP growth

Circular Recycling Economy


– create incentives for this; however, of course it depends on how it’s implemented. For example, taxes on virgin materials (which should ideally be combined with subsidies on the use of recycled inputs – to make the alternative more attractive) aim to create inLegislative environment centives for switching from the use of virgin Clearly, there is a business case for prior- materials towards using recycled materials. itising materials recovery, reuse and recy“However, all of the pros and cons of cling in South Africa. However, for the econ- such policies need to be assessed before omy to become truly circular, the relevant implementing such instruments – for example, assessing the effects on employment legislative framework needs to be in place. The economy will not shift from a linear to (look at the recent controversy around the a circular approach if business is allowed sugar tax as an example). Basically, before Average cost of building a to maintain the status quo. It is largely for any economic instruments are implementlandfill in South Africa these reasons that South Africa’s govern- ed, all of the positive and negative impacts ment has implemented the National Pricing have to be properly assessed and comStrategy for Waste Management (NPSWM), pared to ensure that the gains of any such under the National Environmental Manage- policy outweigh the costs,” he comments. ment: Waste Act (No 59 of 2008) for the “Similarly, taxes on disposal are depurposes of underscoring the “polluter signed to reduce disposal to landfill. Howpays” principle, ensuring that waste pro- ever, they need to be implemented in comducers are held responsible for the recov- bination with other measures (for example, ery, reuse and recycling of waste. the provision of an affordable and conveniThe goal of the legislation is to create ent recycling service as an alternative) in Net benefit created a framework discouraging costly landfill order to avoid perverse consequences, in Europe by taking disposal. This may draw funds from the such as illegal dumping,” he adds. advantage of new In short, none of the measures described fiscus for incentivising manufacturers, technology recyclers and consumers to reduce, in the NPSWM should be implemented in reuse and recycle their waste rather isolation. For example, a tax should always than sending it to landfill. There is also be implemented in conjunction with affordtalk of “materials” or “input” taxes, able access to the desired alternative. encouraging manufacturers to use more Subsidies also bridge this gap. “It is imperative to ensure that those afrecycled products and improve their fected are not worse off as a result, and process efficiencies. that they can switch to recycling services Implementation is key without being penalised. The NPSWM Anton Nahman, senior environmental shouldn’t be about penalising industry, and Trash produced in South economist, CSIR, believes that the circular it certainly shouldn’t be about raising reveAfrica, of which only economy is “something that should cer- nues for the fiscus. Ideally, revenues raised 10% is recycled tainly be implemented on a larger scale in should be used to fund or subsidise reuse the formal South African economy.” and recycling vehicles,” says Nahman. He adds, “The NPSWM should – in principle “Also, such instruments should never be implemented without proper Key performance Estimated five-year impact consultation, assessing ecoTo date (31 August 2016) indicator (if no more synergies are completed)1 nomic, social and environWaste diversion 3 481 tonnes 5 480 tonnes mental impacts,” he adds Additional revenue R7.7 million R12.8 million Cost savings R9.0 million R13.5 million Conclusion Private investment R104 000 R104 000 Implementation of the 8 600 tonnes CO2e (equivalent to 26 900 tonnes CO2e (equivalent Fossil GHG savings 2 NPSWM on its own will not electricity use of 2 300 average to electricity use of 7 200 average ensure a circular economy; South African households) South African households) it needs to be packaged Job creation 14 temporary, 12 permanent, 14 temporary, 12 permanent, with other supporting 5 indirect and 5 induced 5 indirect and 5 induced legislation that also looks at 1 Assuming no more synergies completed by WISP. Benefits achieved by those continuous synergies that achieve benefits South Africa’s broader year-on-year. 2 Carbon savings measured as fossil greenhouse gas savings in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) industrial context.

Predicted increase of EU GDP on a circular economy development path by 2030 – 27% by 2050

through the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) and hosted by the CSIR) and the KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Symbiosis Programme, also managed through the NCPC-SA.

R1 billion

€1.8 trillion

108 m tonnes

ReSource November 2016 – 43

Cleaner Production

Mining Industry 4.0 for Africa African economies are primarily extractive, relying heavily on commodities. That being the case, the continent’s mining industry has the most to gain from implementing Industry 4.0 solutions for minimising energy and water use while maximising value. By Frances Ringwood


here are many who believe that automation and the increased use of smart technology in industry are bad ideas, particularly in Africa, because, so the argument goes, they replace people with machines. This view is extraordinarily narrow and does not take into account the tremendous opportunities for economic growth and market dominance offered by the fourth industrial revolution. Briefly, the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, refers to systems where automation and data-exchange technologies – including machine-to-machine communication and the internet of things – lead to smart facilities that function optimally. This approach is particularly attractive for Africa’s mining sector because it assists to manage water- and energy-related risks, which are relatively common in Africa’s mining sector. When mines manage their resources and risks more effectively, they become more profitable, contributing towards the economies in which they operate and creating more high-level jobs.

Energy management Noddy McGeorge, principal mining engineer, SRK Consulting, notes, “In winning minerals from the earth, we consume substantial

44 – ReSource November 2016

amounts of energy in a range of concentrator energy might vital mining activities – from hoisttake up the most at another. In deeper mines, cooling ing and ventilation through to the energy can be as big a factor beneficiation of the ore. as ventilation,” he says. “Historically, the provision of this In some of the hard data energy has been taken for granted; analysed by McGeorge, he’s when designing mines in the past, seen mines save up to 40% a philosophy of providing for the on their energy consumption worst-case scenario was applied simply through implementing – as energy was not a scarce commodity. In today’s world, however, smarter design. “This, combined with actively looking for the cost of energy and the security of supply mean that engineers the best practices in reducing energy consumption, can have to be more considerate of result in a big difference,” energy usage in their designs.” he adds. McGeorge argues that energy is becoming an increasThere is an important link ing mine-level risk factor, makbetween energy, the way Noddy McGeorge, ing it a vital consideration for mines are designed and auto- principal mining mation. “You need to under- engineer, SRK Consulting operational sustainability. stand these three factors Strini Perumal, industry He points out that when an engineer looks for ways to minimise together to get the benefit. segment specialist: Water and Wastewater, a system’s energy use, they will If we want to change the way Festo SA typically target the areas with the we mine, we’re going to have to become innovators; we’re going to have largest power consumption first to make the to change our design philosophy both on most meaningful impacts. “The processes that take up the most mine design and how we adapt mines to be more energy efficient. This is the only way energy will be different for each mine. For we’re going reduce energy risk in mines,” example, processing might take up the most energy at one mine, while mill and he says.

Norman Maleka, national sales manager, SEW-Eurodrive, speaking at Electra Mining

Cleaner Production

Electric motors for lowering energy consumption

Water conservation Water risks have also been an increasing concern for mines. Africa has been experiencing an ongoing drought as a result of El Niño weather conditions and climate change. Dr Andrew Wood, partner and principal consultant at SRK, notes, “A number of concerns have been raised regarding pollution and resource quality, as well as water security for both social and economic development, which have major social, economic, environmental, legal and political impacts on our lives and businesses, particularly the mining industry. “The effect of the current drought is not solely short-term-climaterelated, but is more fundamental and extensive. Based on current water use and population growth, South Africa will be in a 17% water shortfall by 2025 – and this is even before the drought escalates water security and sustainability risks,” he adds. Further, the quality of freshwater resources has steadily declined, owing to increased pollution. German industrial control and automation company Festo is responding to its mining clients’ needs to treat and manage water and wastewater more efficiently by embracing the trend towards Industry 4.0. According to Strini Perumal, industry segment specialist: Water and Wastewater, Festo SA, “Our response to Industry 4.0 is to introduce cybernetics and information technology into monitoring and process control in the water treatment industry, where different segments of the water or wastewater treatment works are operated independently, allowing modular automation.” Perumal adds that cost savings associated with Industry 4.0 can be translated directly to customers. “Having these plug-andplay systems in stock means original equipment manufacturers can keep modular components on hand, thereby reducing costs C and being able to deliver solutions to consumers with quicker M response times,” he explains.

Product options


motors with power ratings of 7.5 kW to 375 kW must meet the requirements of energy-efficiency class IE3 in the EU. At the beginning of next year, IE3 will become applicable to all asynchronous motors with power ratings of 0.75 kW to 375 kW. “While South Africa does not face the same regulatory pressure as the EU, SEW-Eurodrive has decided to raise the benchmark locally by launching its new DRN series as its standard range of electric motors,” comments Norman Maleka, national sales manager, SEW-Eurodrive. “The efficiency of a motor will depend on what application it’s being used for and how it’s used, but the IE3 can achieve energy savings of up to 25%. We have, in fact, sold a number of IE4 motors to clients in South Africa who see optimum energy efficiency as part of strategy towards in their industries. These G &their W Mineral Resources place adbecoming Corrected.pdfleaders 1 2016/10/27 09:45:53 AM units represent a higher capital outlay but can save up to 50% on energy costs, with significantly lower life-cycle costs,” he adds.

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Modular automation for packaged treatment plants is not the MY only way to save resources on a mine site. Other applications CY HVAC of smart technology can be used on conveyor belts and systems to drastically reduce energy consumption. CMY Among the fundamental components for these systems are K electric motors, and SEW-Eurodrive have made these part of its strategy in Africa to lead the rest when it comes to the introduction of smart motors that lower energy consumption. At this year’s Electra Mining conference held at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, SEW-Eurodrive officially launched its IE3-compliant DRN series of asynchronous motors. Stricter international regulations have meant that, as of the beginning of last year, all two-, four- and six-pole asynchronous

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Cleaner Production

Centre scoops green award The NCPC-SA has earned national recognition for its skills development initiatives powering the local green economy.


he National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) was announced as the winner of the 2016 Achiever Award for Best Public Sector Training Programme at the recent Skills Summit in Pretoria. The award recognised the NCPC-SA’s work in providing solutions to suppor t industr y’s scarce and critical skills in suppor t of the countr y’s transition to a greener economy.

Resource conservation The NCPC-SA is a national government programme that promotes the implementation of resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) methodologies to assist industr y to lower costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and waste management. It is managed by the CSIR on behalf of the Depar tment of Trade and Industr y (DTI). Ndivhuho Raphulu, director, NCPC-SA, explains that the centre established its skills development programme as par t of its Industrial Energy Efficiency Project, launched in South Africa by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in 2010, as par t of the global drive towards greater energy efficiency. This was done in par tnership with the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the UK Depar tment of International Development, the DTI and the Depar tment of Energy.

Skills development “As a key industrial sustainability programme of the DTI, the NCPC-SA has enjoyed strong suppor t from the depar tment in its effor ts to introduce solutions to scarce and critical skills needs not provided for through existing qualifications,” says Raphulu. A key objective of the NCPC-SA has been to ensure that its skills development initiatives have a direct and measurable impact in industr y in the form of substantial financial savings, as well as lead to significant reductions in energy consumption, carbon emissions and waste generation. “Energy savings achieved in industr y plants over the past five years, primarily as a direct result of the NCPC-SA’s exper t-level training,

amounted to 2 140 GWh – enough to power 297 000 middle-income homes for a year,” according to Raphulu. This translates into R1.76 billion in financial savings, or 1.7 million tonnes in terms of CO2 savings. Training offered by the NCPC-SA includes both end-user and exper t-level courses in the areas of energy management systems (EnMS), RECP and energy systems optimisation (ESO). The NCPC-SA is to play a leading role in the establishment of a professional body that will set qualification standards in the green industr y that would be recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority and will have powers and the authority to assume responsibility for qualification development and quality assurance.

Youth and women empowerment The NCPC-SA also has a strong focus on the youth through an internship programme offered in par tnership with industr y. “The programme involves the placement of unemployed engineering graduates in industr y plants to identify and implement actual savings oppor tunities, under the guidance of exper t mentors. Interns gain valuable experience and a sought-after discipline, thus increasing their employability,” says Raphulu. Special initiatives are under taken to increase the number of women in the broader field of resource efficiency and cleaner production, including free training for women registering during Women’s Month and  recruiting and training female engineers, environmental scientists and natural scientists.



he first day I attended a user awareness course, I knew I had found something that I could sell – the value proposition that my business was looking for. I attended all the courses on offer and today I am happy to say I have managed to build an energy consulting business based solely on the training received from the NCPC-SA.” Moses Mataung, energy consultant and EnMS and ESO expertlevel graduate


ReSource ReSource November August 2016 – 47

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Sustainability Round-up

Wasting less, making more of waste New technologies will pave the way for a more sustainable future, where waste is seen as a resource and the ideal of zero waste to landfill could become reality. Here’s a global round-up of some of the tech trends making this possible.

Internet of things drives circular economy


recent MacAr thur Foundation repor t looked at how circular economy principles can be embedded in smar t connected systems in order to monitor and manage supply chains for great efficiency and resource recover y volumes. Through the internet of things, assets can be monitored online, in real time. If objects in a system are capable of measuring data and making autonomous per formance adjustments while feeding back data to a human overseer, the nature of “ownership” changes, meaning resources can be shared more effectively by communities.

Food waste compost for California farmers


Self-driving cars reduce emissions


lready mentioned above, the first self-driving cars have already been invented and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers predicts that autonomous cars will dominate the mainstream automotive market by 2040. Not only do these vehicles hold value for their potential contribution to the circular economy but they could also radically reduce emissions, especially if new models combine electric engine and hybrid technologies. Even if car manufacturers don’t buy into combining clean technologies with these vehicles, autonomous cars are still inherently greener. This is because they incorporate energy optimising controls, which overcome many of the wasteful acceleration and braking habits of human drivers.

uccessful agricultural star t-up California Safe Soil (CSS) has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement, with Kamine Development Corp (KDC Ag), to develop and commercialise A new composting process, which KDC Ag’s patented mimics human digestion yet uses waste conversion and little water, is set to revolutionise fer tiliser technology. agricultural production in droughtstricken California Briefly, the technology helps to create a more sustainable, closed-loop agricultural system by enabling 100% of supermarkets’ fresh food waste that can’t be donated to be rapidly recycled and returned to the soil, as a high-value, organic fer tiliser called Har vest-to-Har vest. The first full-scale, commercial recycling facility for this process is already open and operating in Sacramento, California. The patented process mimics human digestion, while using ver y little water (which is impor tant in California), and CSS currently has long-term contracts with over 200 supermarkets.

ReSource November 2016 – 49

IS THE ENVIRONMENT YOUR KEY FOCUS? Unlock your potential with the IWMSA.

We offer world-class waste management training courses; offering you insight into international, national and local best practice trends. You can only take advantage if you are a member.

By being part of a professional association, we provide our members with various benefits, by providing opportunities:

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)

• to network and exchange information with industry experts

is a multi-disciplinary non-profit association that is committed to

• to debate burning issues

supporting professional waste management practices.

• to have your voice heard in the formulation of legislation

The IWMSA also has various interest groups that focus on key

• for professional and business growth

waste management elements, which includes, Landfills, Collection and Transport, Waste Minimisation and Recycling

We also offer our members

• access to the latest waste management technology, trends and legislation • special rates at IWMSA seminars, conferences and workshops • special rates at our bi-annual international congress - WasteCon • free subscription to our official journal RéSource – published quarterly and develop • courses to upgrade skills

Sustainability Round-up

W2E developments in Asia-Pacific


2E (waste-to-energy) is nothing new, but as Asia’s incineration processes take off, these par ticular types of technologies will increasingly present new oppor tunities. Briefly, W2E can be broken into two technologies: thermal and biological. Thermal technology can be fur ther broken down into combustion, gasification and pyrolysis. In Asia-Pacific, incineration is the most commonly used technology in the W2E market because it’s far more affordable than sending waste to landfill. Rising regional populations will require yet more waste disposal, and keeping transpor tation costs and emissions low is impor tant. China is one of the world leaders in adopting W2E, with many of its large corporations conver ting W2E in order to boost their global green credentials and limit their CO2 outputs. By doing so, companies earn carbon credits, which can be traded on the global market.

These practices, in turn, ser ve to develop China’s economy by turning a liability into an asset. Analysts predict that the Asia-Pacific W2E market will have doubled by 2020, with promising Japanese W2E technology gaining global popularity for its leading advances.

Better quality recyclate for Ontario municipality

Moon-based methane control launched



n October this year, representatives from the Waste Diversion Ontario Continuous Improvement Fund, the Canadian Plastics Industr y Association and the Niagara Region municipality met in Ontario, Canada, to unveil new, leading-edge recyclate technology. This tech will enhance the Niagara municipality’s ability to diver t waste from landfill and produce high-quality end products from recyclable material. Sited in a municipally owned facility, one of the machines is a polystyrene foam densifier, which compresses large volumes of polystyrene foam – collected both kerbside and at regional drop-off depots – into highly dense, stackable blocks that can be turned into new products such as picture frames, decorative mouldings and office supplies.  The new densifier technology enables a significant reduction in the number of truckloads used to transpor t the densified foam material for recycling – for ever y densified load, 35 to 40 truckloads of loose, undensified foam are taken off the road. Another machine unveiled at the event, also owned by the municipality, is a fibre-optical sor ting system, which uses near-infrared technology to efficiently detect and separate different types of recyclable materials.

New Zealand aerospace engineer recently spoke at a conference in Newpor t Beach, California, on a technology he developed based on NASA moon colonisation studies, as the answer to recently passed methane emission legislation in California. William Mook, the founder of New Zealand-based company Zeecol, has developed a zero-waste system to eliminate dair y farmers’ contribution to climate change, enabling them to address stringent effluent management requirements while increasing farm profitability. Stage one of the system captures cow effluent in barns, using a biodigester to conver t waste into power, followed by photo-bioreactor and enzyme-reactor processes that output fuel, fer tiliser and high-protein feed for use on the farm. The system creates zero waste, reusing all components on-farm. Mook’s solution for methane emissions is a giant, transparent, pneumatic dome – about three acres in size – for capturing the methane gas. The air y, inflatable structures allow for the control of gas and water on-site and, hence, manage discharges to the water supply. The dome will enable 100% effluent capture while maintaining a lowdensity environment. These inflatable structures won’t need to be used for moon colonisation if they can instead be used for saving planet earth

ReSource November 2016 – 51

Industry Events IWMSA Events North West Regional Seminar Date: 10 November 10 2016 Organiser: Central Branch Email:

KZN Year-end Function and Waste Awards Gala Evening Date: 17 November 2016 Organiser: KwaZulu-Natal Branch Email:

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) is a multidisciplinary, non-profit association committed to supporting professional waste management practices. Established 40 years ago, the IWMSA organises and hosts regular events bringing the waste management community together to share knowledge and experience for the benefit of the industry.

events Round-up

IFAT Environmental Technology Forum Date: 12 to 14 September 2017 Organiser: Messe München

The Solar Show Africa 2017

IFAT Environmental Technology Forum Africa, which celebrated its premiere in Johannesburg in 2015, is positioning itself comprehensively in the African market. The first edition saw over 2 000 trade visitors, from 42 countries, engage with 116 exhibitors, from 13 countries, taking up over 4 500 m2. In addition, the trade fair boasted a highcalibre forum programme. The next edition, IFAT Africa, Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Refuse and Recycling will take place in Johannesburg in 2017.

Power & Electricity World Africa 2017

Date: 28 to 29 March 2017 Venue: Sandton Convention Centre Co-located with the 20th annual Power & Electricity World Africa event is Africa’s longest running and largest solar and energy show. Concentrating on the use of the sun’s energy for a variety of different projects, from rooftop arrays to CSP technology, The Solar Show has served as a leading platform for members of the solar industry to learn, network and do business.

Date: 28 to 29 March 2017 Venue: Sandton Convention Centre

Africa Energy Indaba

Now in its 20th year, Power & Electricity World Africa has grown into a conference and exhibition attracting hundreds of exhibitors and up to 7 000 attendees. It provides a platform for the continent’s power industry to come together and discuss such topics as smart metering, independent energy producer agreements, renewable energy, biofuels and more.

Capitalising on Africa’s massive, unrealised energy potential, the Africa Energy Indaba focuses on energy as a driver for socio-economic development, leading to greater education levels, commercial productivity and social prosperity. The conference and exhibition covers all aspects of the energy market, from women in energy and natural gas exploration, to solar energy, lighting and renewables.

Date: 21 to 22 February 2017 Venue: Sandton Convention Centre

Index to Advertisers 600SA






Amandus Kahl Hamburg


Jan Palm Consulting Engineers


re-energise Africa

A-Thermal Retort Technologies


Maccaferri Southern Africa


Resource Sustainability Projects OFC



Mills & Otten


Rose Foundation – NORA

Barloworld Equipment


Messe München SA (MMI)


Rose Foundation

Buhle Waste





Envitech Solutions


OTTO Waste Systems



G&W Mineral Resources




Spill Tech

52 – ReSource November 2016


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